The Education, Culture and Sports Committee decided to recognize the Armenian genocide on Monday at a meeting initiated by Meretz Chairwoman MK Zehava Galon.
“It is our moral obligation to recognize the holocaust of the Armenian nation,” said the committee’s chairman and Shas MK Yaakov Margi.
The declaration by the committee represents a symbolic and important change in light of Israel’s maintenance hitherto of a policy to refrain from officially recognizing the Armenian genocide in which approximately 1.5 million Armenians were reportedly massacred by Ottoman Turkish forces during World War I.
Israel has previously abstained from recognizing the genocide in order to avoid potential negative repercussions on its relationship with Turkey. Israel signed a reconciliation agreement with the country last month following a strain in bilateral relations since the summer of 2010.
Nevertheless, MK Margi called upon Knesset Speaker Yuli Edelstein to follow through on remarks he made last year at a committee meeting during which he said that he would work to have the Knesset formally recognize the Armenian genocide.