Israel marks annual Holocaust Memorial Day

Today Israel marks its annual Holocaust Memorial Day, in remembrance of the six million Jews that were killed during World War Two.

During an annual state ceremony at the Yad Vashem Holocaust Memorial Museum, which is the central event that commences all other ceremonies, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu declared that the resurrection of the Jewish people from the ashes of the Holocaust is nothing less than a miracle that is clearly manifested in the Jewish state of Israel. In his words, “Israel receives unprecedented recognition, today. And I do not exaggerate when I tell you, (it receives) unprecedented admiration. In those same countries, whose lands are soaked with the blood of our brothers and sisters, where we were human dust. In the diaspora, our abysmal weakness abandoned us to our fate. In our homeland, the power that we built transformed us into a rising global power. Many are keen on maintaining close relations. That is why, when I stand here next to the memorial of our destroyed communities, I am thrilled time and again about the miracle of (our nation’s) resurrection.”

Netanyahu stressed that while the resurrection of the Jewish people prevailed over the perils of the Holocaust and the events that followed; the achievements of the Jewish people and the state of Israel cannot be taken for granted, and demands a proactive attitude vis-à-vis the looming dangers that continue to threaten the nation’s very existence. The Israeli Primer said: “resurrection is never the end of story. We are proud of our achievements, but we do not ignore the dangers that lie ahead. There is no contradiction between these two things.” / “It is not a question of artificial frightening. Being aware of the dangers is a condition for life.”

The Israeli leader pointed to the clear rise in anti-Semitism around the world at large, and across the West in particular – which according to a study published by Tel Aviv University, there was a rise of 13 percent of reported incidents over the course of 2018. Netanyahu stated; “We live today with a paradox. Global admiration for the Jewish state, on the one hand, while on the other hand, growing hate among some sectors. The radical right, the radical left and radical Islam agree only on one point. Their common hate for the Jewish people.”

While the increase in Anti-Semitic attacks in the West concerns Israel’s leadership, the Prime Minister insisted that the danger from the East, namely Iran, carries more weight – as it openly calls for the annihilation of the Jewish state, and pursues this declared aspiration. “To the danger that emerges from hatred toward Jews in the West, joins a greater danger from the East. Iran continuously directs toward us threats of annihilation. We do not ignore these threats, but we are not afraid of them, either. There were years in which we struggled by ourselves in the face of the entire world, against the dangerous nuclear deal with Iran. But our persistence bore fruit. We highly appreciate the position of President Trump, who withdrew from the nuclear agreement, imposed heavy sanctions on Iran, and several days ago declared the Islamic Revolutionary guards as a terror entity. In the face of Iran, our policy is clear: on the military front, aggressively thwarting Iranian attempts to entrench militarily next to our borders. And on the diplomatic front, pressure, pressure, and more pressure. Facing the threats of annihilation, Israel will not bow its head for slaughter,” Netanyahu said.

It is interesting to note that in contrast to the international holocaust memorial day, which is annually marked in January, Israel marks its Holocaust Remembrance Day according to its Hebrew calendar, on the anniversary of the 1943 Warsaw Ghetto revolt, which was the most significant, yet doomed, act of Jewish resistance during the Holocaust that helped shape Israel’s national spirit, symbolizing strength and the struggle for freedom in the face of annihilation.