|Map indicating location of Armenia and Israel|
BackgroundArmenian-Jewish relations date back to the time of Armenian emperor Tigranes the Great, who, retreating from Judaea, took 10,000 Jews with him on his return to the Kingdom of Armenia. Israel itself is home to the Armenian Quarter of the Old City of Jerusalem.
Relations todaySince independence, Armenia has received support from Israel and today remains one of its major trade partners. According to the CIA World Factbook, Armenia receives 4.8% of its imports from Israel while Israel receives 7.1% of Armenia's exports. Although both countries have diplomatic relations, neither maintains an embassy in the other country. Instead, Ehude Moshe Eytam, the Israeli ambassador to Armenia is based in Tbilisi, Georgia, and visits Yerevan twice a month, while the Armenian ambassador to Israel stays in France and Armenia has a consulate in Israel.
There have been several high-level official visits to Israel by Armenians in the last several years. In January 2000, former Armenian President Robert Kocharyan traveled to Israel and met with high-ranking Israeli officials, including former Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Barak. The two sides pledged to strengthen relations and signed agreements on health and bilateral investment. In 2003, the Catholicos of All Armenian Karekin II visited Chief Rabbi of Israel Yona Metzger who accepted an invitation by Karekin to visit Armenia.
Yad Vashem, the Holocaust Memorial in Israel, has paid tribute to 10 Armenians as Righteous Among the Nations for risking their lives during the Holocaust to rescue Jews. However, because Turkey is a strategic partner of Israel and one of the few countries in the Middle East that recognizes Israel's right to exist, Israel has yet to recognize the Armenian Genocide. In the years following Armenia's independence, however, Israeli politicians, Rabbis, and the country's small Armenian community have called on Israel to do so. At the same time, Turkey has warned of harming ties with Israel if Israel or the United States recognizes the killings as genocide. As of 2008, there has been an ongoing debate regarding recognition in the Knesset with Turkey lobbying hard to prevent it. According to The Jerusalem Post, "many Israelis are eager for their country to recognize the genocide". There are presently 3,000 Armenians living in Israel, including ~1,000 in Jerusalem's Armenian Quarter. There are 750 ethnic Jews living in Armenia. Many Armenian citizens are of Jewish heritage. There is also a small community of Subbotnik Jews, whose ancestors Converted to Judaism, although their numbers are dwindling.