In a Thursday statement, Romanian Agriculture Minister Petre Daea addressed his remark he made in a televised interview, to which Israel reacted with “dismay and disappointment.”
Mr. Daea was commenting on veterinary health measures to stop spread of African swine fever at a breeding farm in southern Romania, where 44,580 pigs were culled, when he said:
“The pigs (at the farm) are all incinerated… it’s extraordinary work, it’s like Auschwitz.”
A Social Democrat, Mr. Daea subsequently apologized, adding he “only wanted to present the particularly difficult situation facing pig breeders from African swine fever.”
“In my soul there is a lot of pain, I wanted to describe the awful moments our farmers face,” he added.
In response to the remark, the Israeli embassy in Romania issued a statement, expressing hope that “such an association was made by Minister Daea because of the lack of in-depth information on what the Holocaust and Auschwitz are, without the intention of dishonoring the memory of millions of victims.”
Several calls for Mr. Daea’s resignations by Romanian politicians were made, following the incident.
The Romanian-Israeli relationship has hit a bump recently, after Romania joined several nations in its intention to move its embassy in Israel to Jerusalem after US President Donald Trump recognized the city as the capital of the Jewish state and ordered the relocation of the American embassy from Tel Aviv in December.
The Romanian president Klaus Iohannis branded the “secrecy” behind the relocation deal a “big mistake.” He said he was not aware of the Romanian Prime Minister Viorica Dancila’s visit to Israel either.