Israeli Foreign Minister Yair Lapid has hit out at his Russian counterpart Sergey Lavrov for alleging Adolf Hitler may have "had Jewish blood" and summoned Moscow's ambassador for "clarifications."
Israel has denounced Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov for suggesting that Adolf Hitler had Jewish origins, accusing Lavrov of spreading anti-Jewish messaging and belittling the Holocaust.
"Such lies are intended to accuse the Jews themselves of the most horrific crimes in history that were committed against them," Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett said in a statement on Monday.
"The use of the Holocaust of the Jewish people for political purposes must stop immediately," he added.
Israeli Foreign Minister Yair Lapid demanded an apology from Lavrov over his comments, which were made in an interview with Italian television, and called in the Russian ambassador for "a tough talk" over the assertion.
Lapid said that to claim Hitler was of Jewish descent was like saying Jews had killed themselves, and accusing Jews of being anti-Jewish was "the basest level of racism."
There was no immediate comment from the Russian embassy or Lavrov himself.
During his interview with Italy's Rete 4 channel on Sunday, Lavrov was asked how Russia could say it needed to "denazify" Ukraine, when the country's president, Volodymyr Zelenskyy, was Jewish.
"When they say 'What sort of nazification is this if we are Jews', well I think that Hitler also had Jewish origins, so it means nothing," Lavrov said, speaking through an Italian interpreter.
Dani Dayan, chairman of Yad Vashem, Israel's memorial to the six million Jews killed in the Holocaust, said the Russian minister's remarks were "an insult and a severe blow to the victims of the real Nazism."
Speaking on Kan radio, Dayan said Lavrov was spreading "an antisemitic conspiracy theory with no basis in fact."
The identity of one of Hitler's grandfathers is not known but there has been some speculation, never backed up by any evidence, that he might have been a Jew.
"The Ukrainians aren't Nazis. Only the Nazis were Nazis and only they dealt with the systematic destruction of the Jewish people," said Lapid, whose grandfather died in the Holocaust.
A German government spokesperson said on Monday that Lavrov's comment on Hitler was "absurd" propaganda.
And Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba said in a tweet that Lavrov's comments illustrate "deeply-rooted antisemitism of the Russian elites."