New Battleground for Antisemitism in Yerushalayim: Armenians’ Support for Palestinians

Dec 7 2023

The war that Israel is waging against the Hamas terror group gradually exposes its enemies, who until now have been sitting on the sidelines. However, as war goes on, it seems that those hostile countries are projecting poison and hatred towards Israel and the Jews.

One of those countries is Armenia, which in recent years has been involved in conflict with Azerbaijan, a country that has Israel’s support and maintains warm and staunch relations with Israel.

The story has no apparent connection to the war.

Several years ago, a 99-year lease agreement was signed for the development of a new luxury hotel in the Armenian quarter in Yerushalayim. A court hearing was recently held regarding the land and parking lot in the Yerushalayim court. The total area is approximately 11.5 dunams [1.15 hectares], which includes a parking lot.

The land was in possession of the Armenian Patriarchate and it was claimed to be a trust for the whole Armenian community. Several members of the community who were angry about this development filed a lawsuit, claiming that they would have to pay hundreds of shekels a month for parking. At the same time, according to a report by Al Jazeera, several Armenians claimed that the property offered for real estate development was allegedly stolen from them by a group of “settlers,” and that the State of Israel wants to expropriate the land in order to expel the Armenians from Yerushalayim. They even called it the State of Israel’s “ethnic cleansing” of non-Jews.

If that is not enough, it seems as though there were several members of the Armenian community under pressure from the Palestinians, who began initiating incitement in the global media, echoing pro-Palestinian claims against Israel, and presenting the real estate matter as proof, alleging that Israel wants to appropriate from them and dispossess Israeli land from non-Jews, even though anyone with a little common sense and who is not rabidly antisemitic, understands that there is no connection between this transaction and the current war.

There may be a financial dispute involving the plot, but there is definitely no place to turn the story into an attempt to ethnically cleanse Israel of other nationalities, and whoever makes such a connection, as has been done in several media outlets around the world, is making unsubstantiated claims to incite antisemitism.

The background to the Armenian unrest is probably due to the close, friendly relations between Israel and Azerbaijan, and Israel’s support for the Azerbaijanis in the context of the dispute over Karabakh, which has just recently returned to Azerbaijani control. The anger in the Arab world towards what Israel is doing in Gaza also gives license to aggressively attack Israel, so that everyone can make false claims that have nothing to do with the reality.

Proof that Armenia has recently come out against Israel and the Jewish world, does not only stem from the current story, but also from reports over the past month of the two attacks on the last synagogue in Armenia, where the perpetrators openly admitted that their actions were due to Israel’s support for Azerbaijan. To cover up for their actions, they claimed that they also acted in solidarity with and support for the Palestinians and the Lebanese.

Either way, the Palestinian pressure and desire to avenge Israel has resulted in savage incitement against Israel in several international media outlets, where the ludicrous claims of stealing land and ethnic cleansing are broadcast without any denial or offering an Israeli response.

Deputy Minster of Transport and Road Safety Rabbi Uri Maklev responded by saying, “We are sorry that a property dispute and the development of Yerushalayim is being used during these difficult times for Israel and the Jewish nation as a whole, as fuel to kindle fire in Yerushalayim and, chalilah, for and struggle between countries. Unfortunately we see over and over again that the pro-Palestinians attempt to light the fire with baseless antisemitic accusations. This is a danger to Yerushalayim and gives rise to disastrous consequences for the fabric of interreligious relations. We expect the Armenian leadership to come to their senses and to protect the local Jewish community exactly as Israel allows freedom of religion for all religions across the country.”

Peace treaty can be signed within days if Azerbaijan accepts latest proposals – Speaker

 12:12, 7 December 2023

YEREVAN, DECEMBER 7, ARMENPRESS. The peace treaty can be signed with 5 days if Azerbaijan doesn’t delay the process, Speaker of Parliament Alen Simonyan has said.

“The treaty can be signed within some ten, or five days in case of desire to do so. We’ve sent our sixth proposals, significant work has been done. If the Azerbaijani side doesn’t change anything and doesn’t present new proposals, of course it can be signed within a few days,” Simonyan said when asked on the likelihood of concluding the peace talks by yearend.

Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev recently said that peace can be established even without a peace treaty, and cited the example of Russia and Japan.

Speaker Simonyan commented on Aliyev’s remarks, saying that the Azeri leader brought a very bad example.

“I don’t think that the territorial issue which Japan is presenting to Russia, and the issue that we have, are identical. I don’t know why he brought that example, I am honestly surprised. Regarding the peace treaty, yes, peace can be achieved if the Azerbaijani president starts from positive steps, for example, by changing his rhetoric, and coming to the meetings that are being organized in various platforms, and reiterating what he had said during the meetings,” Simonyan said.

Russia still hasn’t delivered armaments Armenia has paid for

 14:57, 4 December 2023

YEREVAN, DECEMBER 4, ARMENPRESS. Russia still hasn’t delivered any armaments to Armenia for which Yerevan has paid, Deputy Defense Minister Hrachya Sargsyan has said.

“I know that at the moment no deliveries have been made,” Sargsyan said when asked whether any supplies have been made and whether Armenia considers taking Russia to international courts to resolve the matter.

“I think the matter won’t reach the [courts] and the issue will be resolved in a collegial atmosphere,” Sargsyan said.

Asked whether Armenia has any expectations to eventually receive the armaments from Russia, Sargsyan said, “There’s always hope.”

Armenia ordered armaments from Russia in 2021. According to unconfirmed reports, Armenia paid $400,000,000 for the weapons, which Russia has failed to deliver.

IBA World Junior Championships. Armenia, India and Uzbekistan took three gold medals in the last day

Inside the Games
Nov 5 2023



  •  Monday, 4 December 2023

The last day of the 2023 IBA World Junior Championships in Mika sport complex in Yerevan started not the way the home crowd wanted. 

A boxer with a very famous boxing last name – Arno Darchinyan (men’s 46 kg) stepped to the ring to fight against Russia’s Islam Magomedov. The fight was very close but only one judge had a draw in his scoresheet. The other four gave the victory to Magomedov, who claimed Russia’s sixth gold of the tournament.

Right after that another home crowd favourite Heghine Petrosyan (women’s 48 kg) was outboxed by India’s Payal Payal in each round. Payal brought the first but not the last gold medal for India of the tournament.

After two losses, the Armenian crowd was a little bit disappointed, but then came European champion Tigran Ovsepyan’s turn to walk to the ring. And the main contender of the gold medal brought to the public the first joy of the day. He lost a round to Bulgarian Angel Dimtrov a round, but won the other two and at the end of the bout all the judges gave the victory to the Armenian athlete. Ovsepyan added the World champion’s title to his tally.

Then it was India’s turn to have 3 finalists in a row. And they managed to win only one of them. In women’s 52 kg weight category Nisha Nisha defeated Farinoz Abdulloeva from Tajikistan by unanimous decision. Jatin Jatin (men’s 54 kg) lost his bout to Kazakhstan’s Nurassyl Tulebek. It was Kazakhstan’s fourth gold medal in the tournament. They had only four finalists, but all of them managed to win their gold medal bouts. Right after that Vini Vini (women’s 57 kg) stepped to the ring against Sevara Mammatova (Uzbekistan).

Another gold medal for Uzbekistan claimed Firuzjon Sadullaev (men’s 60 kg). His opponent in the final bout was Andranik Martirosyan from Armenia. In the first two rounds Saduellaev’s advantage was big. Martirosyan returned strong in the third round, throwed some good punches, but it was not enough to close the gap, and the Uzbek athlete won by unanimous decision. 

Siofra Lawless (women’s 63 kg) brought a lot of joy to the Irish delegation winning her final bout against India’s Sachin Sathe. Lawless was dominant in all rounds and won the fight by unanimous decision.

Right after the home crowd exploded as Argishti Hakobyan stepped to the ring in the men's 66 kg weight category final bout against Belarus’s Ivan Siniak. He won each round confidently and became Armenia’s third world champion of the tournament. 

The last four bouts of the tournament featured four more Indian boxers. The first of them won her bout and became World champion, the other three lost the decisive fights. In the women's 70 kg weight category Akansha Phalaswal defeated Russia’s Elizaveta Taymazova by unanimous decision.

When it was Armenia’s Albert Harutyunyan’s turn to enter the ring against Indian opponent. Harutyunyan produced some electric fights in the previous rounds, several times storming back from the losses in the first rounds. He ended his great journey in IBA Junior World Championships with a confident win against Sahil Sahil by unanimous decision, and brought the fourth gold to the Armenian National team.

Anna Bazhaeva (women’s 80 kg) from Russia produced the only knockout of the final day. Her heavy punches against Megha Sheokand made the referee stop the bout in the third round.

The second day of the finals ended the same way as the final’s first day. Yesterday it was Uzbekistan’s representative who won the final bout against an Indian opponent in the women’s super heavyweight category. The last day of the tournament was also closed by the Uzbekistan – India rivalry in the men’s super heavyweight category. And again it was Uzbekistan to win the gold medal. Islam Salikhov defeated Hemant Sangwan by unanimous decision and brought the fourth gold medal to his national team.

Russia won the medal competition with 7 gold, 2 silver and 7 bronze medals. Armenia came the second with 4 gold, 5 silver and 1 bronze medal. Uzbekistan and Kazakhstan also claimed four gold medals. Though India had the most number of the finalists – 12, only three of them became the World champion. Russia was the best also in women’s competition with four gold medals and left behind the Indian team (3 gold medals). Armenian boxers were strongest in the men’s competition with four gold medals, Russia was the second with 3 gold medals.

The 2023 was a good sporting year for Armenia, as they have previously hosted the Weightlifting European championship, 2023, EUBC Youth European Championship and the 2023 World Sambo Championship, and the IBA World Junior Championships were the best way to close the year.

Christians worry land deal could shrink Armenians’ ancient presence in Jerusalem

Sydney Morning Herald, Australia
Nov 20 2023
November 20, 2023

Jerusalem: The heads of the Christian Churches in Jerusalem issued a rare joint appeal at the weekend, warning that a contested land deal could erase the centuries-old presence of the Armenian community within the Old City.

The ethnic Armenian community has its own district within the ancient city of Jerusalem under borders drawn by Ottoman rulers – the smallest of the four quarters, which also include highly distinct Muslim, Jewish and Christian neighbourhoods.

However, Armenians say they risk being uprooted by a deal to lease about 25 per cent of their area to developers who want to build a luxury hotel on the site.

The deal was signed by the head of the Armenian Church in Jerusalem in July 2021, but members of his community said the first they heard of it was when surveyors started work in the area this year.

He told his congregation he was misled and has started legal action to get the contract annulled. The priest who brokered the accord on his behalf was defrocked by the Church Synod in May and has left Jerusalem.

Despite the legal challenge, bulldozers arrived last week and started tearing up a car park, which covers some of the contested land. When protesters blocked the work, armed Israeli Jewish settlers turned up in a failed effort to disperse the demonstration.

“The provocations that are being used by the alleged developers to deploy incendiary tactics threaten to erase the Armenian presence in the area, weakening and endangering the Christian presence in the Holy Land,” the Christian leaders wrote, including the heads of the Greek Orthodox and Roman Catholic churches.

The Armenian community says the investor behind the land lease deal is an Australian-Israeli businessman Danny Rubinstein, who owns a company registered in the United Arab Emirates – Xana Capital Group. A company sign was posted in the parking lot shortly after the surveyors turned up.

Rubinstein did not respond to a request for a comment about the project sent via his LinkedIn account.

By tradition, Armenia was the first kingdom to convert to Christianity as a state religion in AD 301. Although its church is much smaller than the Greek Orthodox and Catholic Churches, it has parity of rights at Jerusalem’s Holy Christian sites.

At the heart of their quarter lies the ornately decorated St James’s Cathedral, which dates to 420 AD, strung with precious lamps and often infused with the haunting singing of its black-cowled monks.

The Armenian Quarter covers a sixth of walled Jerusalem and houses just 1000 people, a fraction of the Old City’s 35,000-strong population.

Armenian locals say the land lease project would consume not just their car park – the largest open space in the Old City – but also their community hall, the patriarch’s garden, the seminary and five family houses.

“The Armenians have been here since the fourth century, but we now risk being uprooted,” said Hagop Djernazian, 23, a student, who is part of a group guarding the carpark night and day, with barbed wire strung out to try to keep out developers and settlers. “We are having to fight for our existence.”

Daniel Seidemann, an activist Israeli lawyer who closely monitors the spread of Jewish settlers around Jerusalem, said the project was aimed at expanding the footprint of the Jewish Quarter across half the Old City.

Israel captured East Jerusalem, including the Old City, from Jordanian forces in a 1967 war. Israel regards the entire city as its eternal and undivided capital. Palestinians want East Jerusalem as the capital of a future state.

“We are aware of a plan to encircle the outside the Old City with settlement projects. We suspect this Armenia Quarter deal is meant to be a continuation of this plan inside the city walls,” Seidemann told Reuters.

“However, there is so much irregularity surrounding it that there is a good chance the courts will reject it.” 

Armenian Prime Minister hopes diplomatic relations with Saudi Arabia will be established soon


YEREVAN, NOVEMBER 24, ARMENPRESS. Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan hopes that Armenia and Saudi Arabia will soon establish diplomatic relations.

“We’ve had contacts with Saudi Arabia in the past [few] years,” Pashinyan said at an online press conference when asked on relations with the country. “Our foreign ministers have met twice, phone calls have taken place, contacts have taken place during various multilateral working discussions. I think the process is advancing, and I hope that Armenia and Saudi Arabia will soon establish diplomatic relations, which would be a very important and significant event,” Pashinyan said.

OPEC Provides €50 Million Loan to Armenia

Egypt – Nov 23 2023
Israa Farhan

This loan also aims to support Armenia's "Comprehensive and Sustainable Green Development Program."

Abdulhamid Alkhalifa, the Director-General of the OPEC Fund, emphasized the fund's commitment to supporting Armenia's climate adaptation program in collaboration with the World Bank, which has provided a parallel loan of €92.3 million.

The statement highlighted the importance of enhancing climate adaptation capabilities.

The OPEC Fund's statement explained that the "Comprehensive and Sustainable Green Development Program" supports Armenia's developmental aspirations and long-term national plans.

It helps Armenia achieve multiple Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), improve environmental management, enhance energy efficiency, promote human capital development, and strengthen governance.

This loan signifies international support for Armenia's endeavors in addressing climate change and advancing sustainable development initiatives. 

Azerbaijan rejects the Armenian peace talks scheduled in the United States

Nov 17 2023

BAKU: Azerbaijan on Thursday refused to participate in normalization talks with arch-rival Armenia that were scheduled to be held in the United States this month due to what it described as Washington’s “biased” stance.

Baku and Yerevan have been locked in a decades-long regional conflict over Azerbaijan’s Nagorno-Karabakh region, which Baku regained in September after a lightning attack against Armenian separatists.

Internationally mediated peace talks between the former Soviet republics have seen little progress, but leaders of the two countries said a comprehensive peace agreement could be signed by the end of the year.

The Foreign Ministry in Baku said in a statement: “We do not see it as possible to hold the proposed meeting at the level of the foreign ministers of Azerbaijan and Armenia in Washington on November 20, 2023.”

The move came after a hearing in the US House of Representatives Foreign Affairs Committee on Wednesday, where the department said Assistant Secretary of State James O’Brien made “biased and biased statements” about Azerbaijan.

O’Brien told the House of Representatives committee that “there will be nothing normal with Azerbaijan after the events of September 19 until we see progress on the peace path.”

He added, “We have canceled a number of high-level visits and condemned (Baku’s) actions.”

“Such a unilateral approach by the United States could lead to the loss of the American mediation role,” the Azerbaijani Foreign Ministry said.

Armenian Prime minister Nikol Pashinyan said on Thursday that “Yerevan’s political will to sign a peace agreement with Azerbaijan in the coming months remains firm.”

Pashinyan and Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev held several rounds of talks mediated by the European Union.

But last month, Aliyev refused to attend the round of negotiations with Pashinyan in Spain, citing “France’s biased position.”

French President Emmanuel Macron and German Chancellor Olaf Scholz were scheduled to join European Union Secretary General Charles Michel as mediators in those talks.

So far, no tangible progress has been made in the European Union’s efforts to organize a new round of negotiations.

ICJ to deliver its Order on provisional measures against Azerbaijan submitted by Armenia on Nov. 17


YEREVAN, NOVEMBER 11, ARMENPRESS.  On Friday 17 November 2023, the International Court of Justice will deliver its Order on the Request for the indication of provisional measures submitted by Armenia in the case concerning Application of the International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination (Armenia v. Azerbaijan), the press service of ICJ reports.

Judge Joan Donoghue, President of the Court will deliver  the Order on Friday 17 November 2023.

Nagorny Karabakh’s Armenians Struggle to Cope with Displacement

GB – Nov 8 2023

Tens of thousands of refugees are sheltered in centres across Armenia and face economic and psychological hurdles.


When 86-year-old Julieta Shahbazyan looks around the room she now shares with 23 members of her family, she is overwhelmed by memories. Her new home is a former kindergarten in Artashat, western Armenia; she had previously never left her native village of Aygestan in the Nagorny Karabakh region.

On September 19, Baku launched a 24-hour military offensive in which it regained control of the region. Karabakh is internationally recognised as part of Azerbaijan but since the mid-1990s large areas had been controlled by ethnic Armenians. 

When Shahbazyan fled the fighting, she did not expect that her displacement would be permanent.

“I left the doors of the house open and went out, thinking of returning soon. What I regret the most is leaving  the graves of my relatives behind.” 

Shahbazyan arrived in Armenia on September 28, after a nearly 72 hour-long journey along the Lachin corridor, the serpentine mountain road connecting Karabakh to Armenia. It normally takes about two-and-a-half hours to cover its 90 kilometres, but the large-scale evacuation jammed the only route out with over 100,00 people leaving in just a few days. 

The operation came on the heels of a nine-month blockade that had left Karabakh’s some 120,000 Armenians exhausted, with no access to essential supplies, including food, medication, gas, and electricity.

Artashat’s kindergarten number 6 shelters Shahbazyan and 73 other Armenians from Karabakh. For many, it is the first time war does not loom over them.

“Children are particularly struck by the absence of gunfire,” Karine Harutyunyan, the director of the kindergarten, told IWPR. “Yet, despite our efforts to provide them with the best possible conditions, they still want to return to their homes. [There is] one child, who cries non-stop, saying, 'I want to go back to our home’.”

Collective centres have been set up across the country to accommodate the refugees. Addressing the European Parliament on October 17, Armenia’s Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan highlighted that the government was providing asylum, shelter and support to Karabakh Armenians. Yerevan has funded Karabakh’s state budget since the end of the First Karabakh War in the mid-1990s.

However, refugees and aid workers warn that the state aid programme and the support of international organisations is not even close to addressing the needs of such a large number of people. Centres are in need of everything to support families, many of whom left in a rush, leaving behind their lives, memories and, in many cases, even documents. 

Single parent Hermine Hayrapetyan, 35, is also living in the kindergarten with her daughter, her three sisters and her brother’s families. She is worried about being able to find a permanent home as the 40,000 drams (about 100 US dollars) that the state pledged as a monthly allowance for households are not enough to cover rent costs. 

“Rents are high and landlords often demand several months' rent upfront,” she said.

Madlena Ghahiryan, who shares a room with 16 members of her family, echoed Hayrapetyan’s worries.

“After Azerbaijan invaded Artsakh [as Armenians call Karabakh] in 2020, we didn't live peacefully, but despite the challenges, we managed to repair our house, to have a livelihood, and, during the blockade we braced ourselves for the winter…I prepared pickles, dried beans and greens and ground wheat to create a winter reserve,” explained the 62-year-old nurse, from Khramort village. 

“During the military invasion, I lost contact with my two soldier sons, who were besieged. The important thing is they were eventually found,” she said.

Many refugees lost their homes for the second time after Azerbaijan regained control of large swathes of territory in the 2020 war. 

Hayrapetyan was among them: she and her family had to leave their village in Hadrut region after it fell under Baku’s control in November 2020. She and family first moved to Armenia for safety and returned to Karabakh after the November 9 ceasefire, settling in Stepanakert, the main city, which Azerbaijanis call Khankendi. 

The 35-year-old is frustrated over what she described as the international lack of interest towards the fate of Karabakh Armenians. 

“For nine months [during the blockade] we had nothing, children were starving… European organisations, human rights defenders, NGOs, no one cared to see what was happening, to see how we were surviving. Now they [come in] and fill some forms. I don’t care about their paperwork.”

Hayrapetyan yearns to return to her home, but cannot imagine living with Azerbaijanis. 

“We didn't want to leave. But it will be impossible to live under Turkish [Azerbaijani] rule.  No matter how often they say to the world ‘we are civilised’ they will massacre us, poison us…” she told IWPR. 

Fear and distrust are common among Armenians from Karabakh and are what drove nearly all of them away from their homes. 

‘’We were hungry and there was no food,” Shahbazyan told IWPR, recalling the journey to Armenia. “At one point, Azerbaijani and Russian soldiers approached us and offered sweets to the children. I took the first one and ate it to make sure it wasn't poisoned.”

Hayrapetyan's 14-year-old niece, Marianna, is still grappling with the loss. 

“After the 2020 war, we kept hoping  that we would go back to Tumi, my native village [in Hadrut region]. We did not; then we lost all of Artsakh,” she told IWPR.

“When the shelling started, my mother was making sweets with mulberry jam,” she continued. “The next day was my brother's birthday. I made cards because I couldn't find any other gift for him during the blockade. All that was interrupted by my mother's panicked voice, ‘Let's go down to the basement quickly.’”

Her father had served in Karabakh’s  army, Marianna explained, adding, “We couldn’t  sleep for two nights until we received the news that my father was alive. He was surrounded in the forest, but he couldn't get out. When they said that they should evacuate us, I told my mother that I wouldn’t  leave until my father’s return.”

Alvard Dadayan’s husband also served in the army; he was killed during the first Karabakh war, in the 1990s. The 54-year-old from Stepanakert cannot hold back tears when she recalled that she no longer possessed a photo of husband in military uniform. 

“I had it with me but on the way we were told that they [Azerbaijanis] would check all cars,” she said. “I did not want to put my sons in danger, so I hid his photo under a stone along the way.”

All photos by Siranush Sargsyan; see at the link below