The initiative for Israel's official recognition of the Armenian genocide by the Turks in World War I is gaining momentum at an impressive pace, according to Israel Radio. The bill, initially submitted by MK Itzik Shmuli (Zionist Camp), has been endorsed by no fewer than 50 MKs from both coalition and opposition parties.
The bill was submitted following Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan's statements against Israel, and has received endorsements from Likud, Zionist Camp, Habayit Hayehudi, Meretz, and Shas.
Shmuli's bill states that the Knesset will officially recognize the Armenian genocide and will mark it on a special annual day. In addition, the bill seeks that Israel also officially recognize the massacre of the Assyrian population, which was also perpetrated by the Turks during the First World War. Some 300,000 were killed by the Turks in that massacre.
The massacre of the Assyrian population is recognized by fewer countries than the Armenian genocide.
According to MK Shmuli, "In addition to the fact that many countries have already recognized the Armenian genocide, there is also the fact that there is no point in treating the Turks with special sensitivity in light of the incitement of Turkish President Erdogan against the State of Israel."
Transport Minister Yisrael Katz told Israel Radio on Thursday that "there is no moral impediment to recognizing the Armenian holocaust. Erdogan is carrying out transfers against the Kurds and he should be reprimanded."
A similar proposal was submitted by MK Amir Ohana (Likud). "It is not too late to pursue justice," Ohana said. "It's time to officially acknowledge the terrible injustice done to the Armenians. Is it possible that the nation-state of the Jewish people, after all that we have endured, will not recognize it?"
Knesset Speaker Yuli Edelstein, who is in France, decided to join the campaign, saying he would do everything in his power to advance the bill as soon as possible and use all the tools available to him.
It is not clear how Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu will respond to the initiative.