Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky on Thursday said he had spoken to Prime Minister Naftali Bennett and discussed the "scandalous and completely unacceptable remarks" by Russia's foreign minister about Hitler.
In an early morning video address, Zelensky said the comments by Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov had outraged the entire world. In an interview on Sunday, Lavrov said the Nazi dictator had had Jewish origins.
The comment has enraged Jerusalem and spurred condemnations from Bennett and Foreign Minister Yair Lapid.
Bennett, who has been more measured in his criticism of Russia's invasion so far, slammed Lavrov's comments. "His words are untrue and their intentions are wrong," he said. "Using the Holocaust of the Jewish people as a political tool must cease immediately."
Lies such as these mean to blame Jews for the horrible crimes committed against them throughout history and by doing so, remove responsibility from their enemies."
"Jews did not kill themselves in the Holocaust," Lapid said. "My grandfather was killed by Nazis. to say that Hitler was of Jewish origin is like saying that Jews killed themselves and we cannot forgive such a comparison," he said.
"It enrages me not only as foreign minister but also as a son of my father's who was put in the Budapest ghetto. He was not put there by Jews. He was put there by Nazis," he said.
"The Nazis persecuted the Jews and killed six million of them. Ukrainians were not Nazis. Only the Nazis were Nazis and they had conducted a systematic eradication of the Jewish people," he said.
Lapid said he expected Russian Ambassador to Israel Anatoly Viktorov to apologize for the comments made by the Russian minister.
At the end of the meeting between the Russian envoy and the head of the ministry's Euro-Russia wing Gary Koren, a source familiar with its content said that "the Israeli position has been made clear" and that the parties had agreed that "no further details will be released from the conversation."
Meanwhile, A spokeswoman for Russia's foreign ministry on Wednesday claimed Israeli mercenaries were fighting alongside the far-right Azov Regiment in Ukraine, further fueling tensions with Israel after Lavrov's comments.
"Israeli mercenaries are practically shoulder to shoulder with Azov militants in Ukraine," Maria Zakharova told pro-Kremlin Sputnik radio in an interview.
Azov rose to prominence in 2014, when its far-right activists took up arms to fight pro-Russian separatists in Ukraine's eastern Donbas region but have since fallen under the command of Ukraine's military.
They have been fighting alongside the Ukrainian army against Russian troops, which on February 24 launched a military campaign in the pro-Western country.
Its members are part of the Ukrainian resistance in the port city of Mariupol, holed up inside the Azovstal steel plant against which Russian forces launched a major assault on Tuesday.
By suggesting that Israelis are fighting alongside Azov — viewed by Russia as "fascists" and "Nazis" — Moscow is compounding tensions that started after Lavrov's Hitler comments.