The Chinese embassy in Israel apologized for remarks made by its acting ambassador to Israel on Sunday, who compared the country’s travel ban for arrivals from China to Jews being denied international refuge during the Holocaust.

Israel has barred entry to non-Israelis who were in China in the last few weeks because of the coronavirus, which originated in the Chinese city of Wuhan. The virus has already caused more than 300 deaths, infected 17,000-plus and spread to 25 countries.

Ambassador Dai Yuming at a press conference said the Israeli travel ban “actually recalled [for] me, the old days, the old stories, that happened in World War II, the Holocaust.”

“Many Jewish [people] were refused when they tried to seek assistance. Only very, very few countries opened their doors, one of them is China. I hope Israel will never close their door to the Chinese,” he added. “In the darkest days of the Jewish people, we didn’t close the door on them. I hope Israel will not close the door on the Chinese.”

The embassy later issued a statement apologizing for Yuming’s comments, saying, “there was no intention whatsoever to compare the dark days of the Holocaust with the current situation and the efforts taken by the Israeli government to protect its citizens.”

“We would like to apologize if someone understood our message the wrong way,” the embassy said.

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