Israeli chief rabbi says killing of Armenians in 1915 was genocide

23 Nov 2005

November 23, 2005

Israel's Ashkenazi chief rabbi Yona Metzger has said during a visit to Armenia that the 1915 Turkish massacre of Armenians was genocide. "The Jewish religious community recognizes the fact of the genocide, and, together with the Armenian people, grieves for the innocent victims," Metzger said at Yerevan's Memorial to the victims of the genocide. "Of course, I use the term 'genocide,'" he said after laying a wreath at the memorial. "All the pictures and documents we have seen at the Genocide Museum prove that", he added. Israel has not officially recognized the 1915 Turkish massacre of Armenians as a genocide. Armenians say that up to 1.5 million died in orchestrated killings during the final years of the Ottoman Empire. But the Turkish government strenuously denies this, saying that 300,000 Armenians and as many Turks were killed in a civil war when the Armenians, backed by Russia, rose up against the Ottoman Empire.