Israel sends delegation to Armenia for rites marking mass WWI killings


JERUSALEM (JTA) — Israel has sent an official delegation to ceremonies marking the 100th anniversary of the mass murder of Armenians by Turkish forces during World War I.

Armenia will hold ceremonies over the weekend to mark the tragedy, which some call the Armenian Genocide. Israel has resisted calling the event a genocide.

“Israel must reconsider its position on whether the time has come to recognize the fact that an Armenian genocide occurred,” said Knesset member Nachman Shai of the Zionist Camp, who will represent Israel at ceremonies and events in Yerevan, Armenia’s capital. “As Jews, we must recognize it.

“This is especially true during these days, when we mark Holocaust Remembrance Day. Participation in the events in Armenia is a clear and strong statement by the Israeli Knesset, which has repeatedly remembered the Armenian victims, that it is obligated to reopen the matter.”

Anat Berko of the Likud party also will represent Israel at the commemorations.

President Barack Obama also has avoided calling the killings a genocide, despite his 2008 pledged that he would.

Treasury Secretary Jack Lew, who is Jewish, will represent the United States in Armenia for the commemoration.

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