Rivlin's Failure to Recognize Armenian Genocide Disappoints Armenian Leader

Armenians had pinned hopes on Rivlin, according to Archbishop Nourhan Manougian, the Armenian patriarch of Jerusalem and head of the country's Armenian community.

Nir Hasson
Nir Hasson
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Patriarch Nourhan Manougian in Jerusalem
Patriarch Nourhan Manougian in JerusalemCredit: Olivier Fitoussi
Nir Hasson
Nir Hasson

President Reuven Rivlin clearly disappointed the representatives of the Armenian community who visited Beit Hanassi Sunday. But it was merely the latest in a series of disappointments at the reluctance of the world in general – and Israel in particular – to recognize the Armenian genocide, whose 100th anniversary is being marked this month.

The Armenians had pinned their hopes on Rivlin, who as an MK and Knesset speaker had always been sympathetic to them, according to Archbishop Nourhan Manougian, the Armenian patriarch of Jerusalem and head of the country’s Armenian community.

Manougian also expressed his disappointment with Israeli policy toward the genocide and toward the Armenian community in general, reminding those who might like to forget that Christian clergy, senior as they may be, are subject to spitting attacks by belligerent, extremist Jews in the streets of Jerusalem. Sometimes the clergymen are even arrested; he himself was detained by two border policewomen two years ago, and wasn’t released until the Jerusalem District’s special adviser on Christian communities intervened.

Events marking the centenary opened last Thursday night, with the ringing of most of the Old City’s church bells 100 times. On Friday there was a special prayer service at the Armenian Church and a wreath-laying ceremony at the memorial for those massacred. As every year, no official government representative attended the ceremony; the Armenians made do with Meretz MK Zehava Galon, whose party has long fought for the genocide's recognition.

This year, the Knesset did send two representatives, Nahman Shai (Zionist Union) and Anat Berko (Likud) to the official memorial events in Armenia. “Sending two Knesset members is a good decision. I hope that things will change, but with what they’re doing now, I don’t think they’ll change,” he said. “I hope it won’t take us another hundred years to gain recognition. The Turks want us to forget. We are trying to show them that they are mistaken, that we remember and demand – demand justice of course, for a start,” said the patriarch.

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