Topline

Russian President Vladimir Putin on Thursday apologized to Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett for Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov’s claims earlier this week that Nazi leader Adolf Hitler was partially Jewish and that Jews themselves are some of the worst anti-Semites, according to the Israeli government, comments that sparked an outcry from Israeli leaders who accused Lavrov of blaming Jews for the Holocaust.

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During a phone call with the Russian leader, Bennett accepted Putin’s apology and thanked him for “clarifying” Russia’s attitude toward the Jewish people and the Holocaust, the Israeli government said in a statement,

A readout of the meeting from the Kremlin does not mention an apology from Putin, but says Russia recognized the significance of Isreeli Independence Day, which the country celebrated on Wednesday and Thursday, and noted that 40% of the 6 million Jews killed in the Holocaust were citizens of the USSR.

The phone call comes after several Israeli politicians, including Bennett and Israeli Foreign Minister Yair Lapid, slammed Lavrov after he told an Italian TV show Sunday that some of the “worst anti-Semites are Jews” in an attempt to justify Russia’s claims it is trying to de-Nazify Ukraine, a country with a Jewish president.

In a response, the Russian Foreign Ministry on Tuesday accused Lapid of supporting the “neo-Nazi regime in Kyiv.”