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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Israel Criticizes Lukashenko's Remarks

JERUSALEM -- Israeli Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni has condemned recent comments by Belarussian President Alexander Lukashenko as anti-Semitic.

Lukashenko had commented on the living conditions in his country's rural town of Bobruisk, which was once a major Jewish center, in a live radio broadcast on Oct. 12. "It was frightening to go in, it was a pigsty," Lukashenko said. "It used to be largely a Jewish city; you know how Jews treat the place where they live. Look at Israel; I was there."

Livni strongly criticized Lukashenko's remarks in a statement released late last week. "The role of leadership is to fight anti-Semitism wherever it raises its ugly head, all over the world, not to encourage it!" Livni said in the statement. "Anti-Semitism is primarily an indicator of the society in which it appears and of its leaders."

The Belarussian ambassador to Israel has been summoned to the Foreign Ministry and will be advised of the strong condemnation, the statement said.

Belarus' Foreign Ministry refused on Friday to comment on Israel's criticism. The Israeli Embassy in Minsk said the ambassador had not been recalled.