Russian President Vladimir Putin made a joke invoking the antisemitic trope about Jews and money during a visit to Crimea.
During a visit with local residents and religious leaders on Monday, a local Jewish leader made a comment about financial difficulties.
“So the Jews have problems with finances!” Putin replied. “Only such a thing could happen in Crimea.”
He also said “todah rabah,” Hebrew for “thank you very much,” to the bearded, black-hatted Jewish man.
The exchange was first reported in English in a tweet by Washington Post Moscow correspondent Anie Ferris-Rotman, who included a video.
Putin today, responding to a Jewish community member in Crimea: “So the Jews have problems with finances! Only such a thing could happen in Crimea” (forced laughter all round) He also tells him, in Hebrew, “thank you very much” https://t.co/fWNvW6wxFt
— Amie Ferris-Rotman (@Amie_FR) March 18, 2019
Also Monday in Crimea, Putin proposed inviting Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu of Israel to the opening of a synagogue in Sevastopol after offering to invite President Recep Tayyip Erdogan of Turkey to the opening of a Crimean mosque.
Putin also said that the Jewish community in Russia was making a large contribution to his country’s development.
“I hope that Jews in Crimea will play the same positive role,” he said. “Judaism is also among our traditional denominations, traditional religions, and I am very pleased that religious life is developing here in Crimea.”
Some 10,000 Jews live in Crimea, and the community has been deeply supportive of Russian annexation of the peninsula.