Belarus president to send envoy here to calm feelings over offensive remarks
Belarus President Alexander Lukashenko will send a representative to Israel next week to clear the air following angry reactions to what was perceived as an anti-Semitic tirade he made last week, Belarus Ambassador to Israel Igor Leshchenya told The Jerusalem Post Wednesday.
According to Leshchenya, Pavel Yakoubovitch, the editor of the Belarus Today newspaper, will hold meetings with Foreign Ministry officials and the press. Yakoubovitch, who is Jewish, is considered close to the president.
Lukashenko sparked a diplomatic row with Israel two weeks ago when he addressed the shoddy conditions of the town of Bobruisk during a live press conference and said: “Well, obviously, it is a Jewish town. The Jews do not care for the place they live in, look at Israel, I have been there.” The town was reorganized after the Jews left, he added, and called for Jews “with money” to return there.
Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni blasted the comments, saying, “The role of leadership is to fight anti-Semitism, wherever it raises its ugly head all over the world, not to encourage it. Anti-Semitism is primarily an indicator of the society in which it
See BELARUS, Page 21
BELARUS AMBASSADOR IGOR LESHCHENYA (Sybil Ehrlich)