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Issues of the Day With You, Armenia

I had the privilege of being in the audience at the Jerusalem Theatre on Thursday evening, March 5, 2015 when a special concert commemorating the centennial of the Armenian genocide took place. Compositions by three Armenian composers were performed by the Jerusalem Symphony Orchestra in tribute to the 1.5 million Armenians who perished at the hands of the Ottoman state between 1915-1916.

The Armenian Foreign Minister, the Ambassador of Israel to Armenia and dignitaries of the Armenian Patriarchate were in the audience. A delegation from Yerevan arrived especially for the concert, the first in a series to be held around the world in memory of the victims of the Armenian massacre.  


The Jerusalem event, which was supported by the Israel Foreign Ministry and was broadcasted live by Kol Yisrael, Israel's classical music station, was particularly poignant. It was noted that both modern Israel and Armenia have attained independence and the opportunity to achieve national "regeneration" after genocidal attempts by the Nazis and Ottomans, respectively. The ties between the two peoples, their parallel histories of diaspora and ingathering, and similar values were also highlighted.


Observing the one hundredth anniversary of the Armenian tragedy in Jerusalem surrounded by other Israelis as well as non-Israelis, including many representatives from Coptic, Catholic and Orthodox Christian denominations was especially fitting. The evening also attested to the possibilities for harmonious relations among the nations when similarities, rather than differences, are stressed.


The orchestra was led by Andres Mustonen, a prominent Estonian conductor and violinist who has worked with a number of ensembles in Israel during recent years. 

© Yosef Gotlieb, . All rights reserved