Zahava Gal-On

JERUSALEM, ARMENPRESS — “Armenpress” reporter in Jerusalem had a conversation with the leader of Israel’s “Meretz” party, member of Knesset Zahava Gal-On regarding the issue of discussions dedicated to the Armenian Genocide recognition in the plenary session of Knesset, organizing open public discussions, and a number of other issues as well.

– The issue of the Armenian Genocide recognition was discussed at the plenary session of Knesset on Your initiative, and a decision was made to pass it to the Knesset Committee. Has the Knesset Committee already decided which Ministry’s commission should discuss this issue?

– The issue is still under the consideration of the Knesset Committee. The Knesset Committee has not passed it to any ministerial commission. But next week we shall check it out if it is possible to pass it to the Commission of the Ministry of Education.
We want to clarify if it is possible to organize an open public discussion to invite experts of the realm and representatives of the Armenian Community of Israel. This issue has not been clarified yet.
Two years ago the Knesset passed the Armenian Genocide issue to the Commission of the Ministry of Education, which even managed to organize one public discussion.

– What was the reason for terminating the discussions in the same commission and passing the issue to the Knesset Committee?

– Unfortunately, it’s a part of political conjuncture, result of political and state interests of the Israeli Government. At that time the relations between the Israeli Government and Turkey were intense because of the Marmara ship events, hence the Israeli Government permitted the open discussion. Currently, Israel is improving its relations with Turkey and does not want to permit any open discussion, save that in the Knesset plenary session.

– What are Your expectations regarding the Armenian Genocide recognition in the respect of the restoration of warm relations between Israel and Turkey, which launched two months ago?

– In my opinion the time has come for the Israeli Government to reach an agreement with Turkey, a state agreement, and reconcile with Turkey and not to use the Armenian Genocide issue for political reasons, but to recognize the Armenian Genocide without linking it to its relations with Turkey.

– Can the Armenian Patriarchate of Jerusalem or the newly elected Armenian Patriarch help You regarding the recognition of the Armenian Genocide by the Israeli Government?

– Yes. I find that the newly elected Armenian Patriarch of Jerusalem must have meetings with the incumbent Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs Ze’ev Elkin and the Prime Minister of Israel and raise this issue before them. They exercise vast influence in the Knesset.
I want to repeat that lobbyist activity is of a certain importance in this issue. We must stand above everything. This must be a moral issue and not an object of political speculations.

Interview by Archimandrite Koryun Baghdasaryan

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