WATCH

Putin Makes Joke About Jews and Money, Speaks Hebrew

Also on Monday in Crimea, Putin proposed inviting Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to the opening of a synagogue in Sevastopol, Crimea

Russian President Vladimir Putin, center, gestures while speaking at an outdoor concert in Crimea's regional capital of Simferopol, Crimea, Monday, March 18, 2019
Yuri Kadobnov/Pool Photo via AP

Russian President Vladimir Putin made a joke invoking the anti-Semitic trope about Jews and money during a visit with local residents and religious leaders in Crimea on Monday.

When a local Jewish leader made a comment about financial difficulties, Putin replied: “So the Jews have problems with finances! Only such a thing could happen in Crimea.” He also said to the bearded and black-hatted Jewish man in Hebrew, “toda raba,” or thank you very much.

The exchange was first reported in English in a tweet by Washington Post Moscow correspondent Anie Ferris-Rotman, who included a video of the exchange.

Putin also proposed inviting Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to the opening of a synagogue in Sevastopol, after offering to invite Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan to the opening of a Crimean Mosque.

He also stated that the Jewish community of Russia was making a large  contribution to the country’s development.

“I hope that Jews in Crimea will play the same positive role. Judaism is also among our traditional denominations, traditional religions, and I am very pleased that religious life is developing here, in Crimea,” the president said.