Here are the texts of the addresses given by Israeli leaders on Holocaust Martyrs’ and Heroes Remembrance Day, known as Yom HaShoah (Hebrew for the Day of Catastrophe), to commemorate the six million Jewish victims of the deaths of six million Jews in Europe by Nazi Germany and its collaborators during the Second World War.
Holocaust Remembrance Day is being held this year on the theme of “Transports to Extinction: The Deportation of the Jews during the Holocaust.”
TV7 obtained the following transcipts from the President’s International Media Advisor and the Prime Minister’s Foreign Media Advisor.
Israeli President Isaac Herzog:
President Isaac Herzog spoke at the State Opening Ceremony for Holocaust Martyrs’ and Heroes’ Remembrance Day 2022 at Yad Vashem.
President Isaac Herzog’s full speech:
There are moments in which a single photograph, in black and white, tells the whole story and echoes all the words that could be said.
I stand here before you, carrying with me, etched on my heart, such a photograph. It is a rare photograph, which nobody who sees it can ever forget. The eyes see, the mind grasps, yet the soul refuses to believe that what appears in black and white is in fact blacker than black. It is not a photograph about big numbers, about thousands, tens of thousands, or millions.
It is a photograph of a single Jewish family. A family executed by diabolical Nazi jackboots and their collaborators.
A mother and her children on the edge of a pit. Rifle butts touching her back. We cannot see the woman’s face, nor her children’s. A moment before her body collapses into the pit of death, she bends over her infant children. And in a single moment, all the rifles send up a plume of smoke. They shoot her together, not making do with a single bullet. Coordinated. Efficient. One child slips beneath her. With her last ounces of strength, the mother grasps her little boy’s hand, sitting on his knees barefoot, on soil drenched with blood.
What did the mother whisper in her little boy’s ear? Did she beg him not to cry? And what of the child? Did he cry? Did he stay silent? Did he understand? Was he afraid? The photograph is silent, but its voice cries out. It shakes us. It stuns us to silence.
“Do not murder.” (Exodus 20:13)
“Do not raise your hand against the boy.” (Genesis 11:12)
“Do not take the mother together with her young.” (Deuteronomy 22:1)
“Do not slaughter it on the same day with its young.” (Leviticus 22:28)
This photograph was taken on 13 October 1941. When I saw it in a book by the historian Dr. Wendy Lower, a book about this photograph, and this photograph alone, I felt my entire essence being turned upside down inside me with grief, with fury, with pain.
These atrocities unfolded in many cities and towns, too many to count, in all of which the sun rose over the valley. Birds chirped. The forests were silent. And the butcher? He butchered and butchered and butchered.
Holocaust survivors, heroes of the resurrection, families and succeeding generations, Prime Minister Naftali Bennett and his wife, Knesset Speaker Mickey Levy MK and his wife, Supreme Court President Justice Esther Hayut and her husband, Yad Vashem Council Chairman Rabbi Yisrael Meir Lau, Yad Vashem Chairman Dani Dayan, Bundestag President Bärbel Bas, Israeli Government ministers, chief rabbis, heads of the security services, Center of Organizations of Holocaust Survivors in Israel Chairwoman Colette Avital, citizens of Israel, ladies and gentlemen.
Throughout the Holocaust of European Jewry, babies, girls and boys, women, the elderly and men were led to the pits of death and massacred. Like the mother and her little boy, they left behind neither a name nor a memory. “Like sheaves behind the reaper” fell the Jews into the pit, “with none to pick them up” (Jeremiah 9:21).
The mass killing of the Jewish People, mankind’s darkest hour, started thus, with what would in time be called the “Holocaust by bullets.” Later, the insatiable Nazi predator accelerated this process of extermination until it reached monstrous proportions. Millions of our people were tortured, murdered, massacred by the most frightful mechanism of evil that humankind has ever known.
My sisters and brothers, three years after the camp gates were opened, the survivors of the Holocaust became the heroes of the resurrection. They became our standard, our example, our symbol.
The State of the Jews arose as a lighthouse expressing the victory of light over darkness and promising that never again will a Jewish child hide in a dark and isolated cellar from those who want him dead. Never again will parents be torn apart from their children and sent on their final steps, simply because they are Jews. And never, ever, will depraved murderers stand behind a Jewish family, shoot them, and dispatch them into the valley of the shadow of death.
Ladies and gentlemen, the Jewish response to history is the injunction: Remember! Memory not only of sterile science, nor of archival documents, but first of all, fundamentally: profound, existential memory, which gives history its meaning. Memory of the sort that is reflected in every walk of life, that makes us grow, that builds us as a nation, that makes us better, more worthy.
Our beloved Holocaust survivors, your memory is our memory, and the task of bequeathing it falls to all of us. It is we who bear the duty to teach the lessons of the Holocaust and to hand them down, from generation to generation.
We stand no chance, nor have we any justification as a people and as a state, if we do not remember forever what happened to our people, in the ghettos, in the basements of the Gestapo, in the execution pits, in the death trains, in the extermination camps, in the crematoria, and in every other place where the image of humanity was lost and no trace of compassion survived.
And besides all this, we must prove, first and foremost to ourselves, that it is not only history that binds us as a people, and that our shared future is a firm foundation for deepening connections between us, no less so than our past. We must continue building our nation such that it will flourish, grow, and rise to every challenge.
We must act in a cohesive and determined manner in the face of terrorism and hatred, led by states and organizations against us, and fortify Israel’s independence as an iron wall defending us against our enemies.
Casting doubt on Israel’s right to exist is not legitimate diplomacy but pure antisemitism, which must be uprooted. We must continue fighting against ugly expressions of antisemitism, which is returning to rear its head in many places in the world, including on social media. And we must make clear that even today, eight decades after the darkest abyss in the annals of human history, the antisemitism threatening our people is a crime against humanity.
Our dear Holocaust survivors, even as your numbers dwindle, our obligations toward you only grow, and they must be seen and heard from every edge of the earth. You are the pillar of fire before our camp. You provide us with inspiration and hope, and you instill in us faith in the righteousness of our cause and in our willingness to move forward.
Citizens of Israel, I began my remarks tonight with a photograph, and I end with another photograph, which also echoes all the words that could be said. On my desk, in the office of the President of the State of Israel, is only one photograph, which shocks everyone who sees it. It is another photograph that nobody who sees it can ever forget. In the middle of the picture is the late Dora Dreibelt-Eisenberg, born in Lodz, prisoner number 55374 from Auschwitz-Birkenau. Together with her, her little great-granddaughter, Daniella Har Zvi. Here too, the woman’s face is out of sight, and so is the face of her great-granddaughter. The little girl holds her great-grandmother’s arm. The Israeli flag touches their hands. This photo too, taken by Karen Gillerman, clearly tells the whole story.
The story of the Jewish People and its rebirth. The story of the Land of Israel and its settlement. The story of the chain of generations, and the story of the State of Israel, our beloved country, which is the most profound expression of the Prophet Ezekiel’s vision of dry bones.
As the Bible says: “Thus said the Lord GOD: I am going to open your graves and lift you out of the graves, O My people, and bring you to the land of Israel… I will put My breath into you and you shall live again, and I will set you upon your own soil.” (Ezekiel 37:12-14)
Earth, cover not their blood! May the memory of our brothers and sisters, victims of the Holocaust, be blessed and bound in the heart of the nation, from generation to generation, for evermore.
President Isaac Herzog laid a wreath at Yad Vashem and then participated in the “Unto Every Person There Is a Name” ceremony at the Knesset, where he read the names of relatives killed in the Holocaust.
The President read the names of family members killed in the Holocaust and shared their individual stories in brief.
President Isaac Herzog’s full remarks:
“In their memory.
In memory of the 10,000 Jews of the Łomża Ghetto in Poland, murdered and massacred and exiled to Auschwitz in January 1943, like lambs to slaughter. Łomża was the birthplace of my grandfather, Rabbi Yitzhak Isaac HaLevi Herzog, and where a glorious Jewish community had flourished for centuries.
In memory of the family of my late mother Aura Herzog’s uncle, the late Prof. Hersch Lauterpacht from Lviv, the only survivor from his family, who became a prosecutor at the Nuremberg Trials on behalf of the Allies and one of the founders of modern international law.
In memory of my late father Chaim Herzog’s aunt, Sonia Epstein, and of her husband and her son.
In memory of my late mother-in-law Tzvia Afek’s uncle, Yaakov Rodetsky, from the city of Ruzhany in Poland, who drowned aboard the Struma refugee ship in February 1942. In memory of the grandfather and grandmother of my late father-in-law Shaul Afek, Yaakov Meir Pinchuk and his wife Batya-Leah, from the town of Kobryn, then in Poland and now in Belarus.
In memory of Annette (Hannah) Goldberg, née Herzog, aged 21, from Paris. Annette, my father’s cousin, was captured on the border between occupied France and Vichy France and jailed at the Drancy internment camp near Paris in August 1942. The next month, Annette was loaded onto a cattle car to Auschwitz, where she was killed. She threw out of the carriage a letter, scrawled in pencil, to her mother, Aunt Esther, hiding in Paris. Farmers found the letter and smuggled it to her mother. Annette ended her letter with the words: “Do not despair, mother, do not become addicted to grief. I am full of courage and hope… There are thousands like me. Wait for me patiently, my darling mother.” Aunt Esther waited and waited for her, believing that she would return, until her dying day.
May their memories be a blessing.”
President Isaac Herzog addresses the March of the Living on Holocaust Remembrance Day
President Isaac Herzog addressed the March of the Living today, Holocaust Martyrs’ and Heroes’ Remembrance Day, in pre-recorded message broadcast to thousands of participants at the site of the Auschwitz-Birkenau death camp. The March of the Living is taking place in person again this year after a two-year hiatus owing to the COVID-19 pandemic.
President Isaac Herzog’s full speech:
“Dear friends, dear brothers and sisters. Three years ago I was here. Leading the delegation of the Jewish Agency for Israel, I marched alongside Jews and non-Jews to remember the millions murdered in the Shoah.
We marched to salute the martyrs of the Holocaust and the uprisings. We marched to commemorate the Righteous Among the Nations, those who risked their lives for ours. We marched to honor the sheer heroism and perseverance of the precious survivors. We marched and we cried. And we cried, and we cried.
For the past two years we took a step back from the horror. We grieved in our homes and connected through screens and Zoom. But today, thank God, I speak to you from Jerusalem, the capital of the Jewish, democratic State of Israel, when you are there in the camp, marching again.
We march to mourn, to remember, and to declare that the death marches of eighty years ago will never happen again and will never be forgotten.
The March of the Living is far more than a symbolic gesture. Commemorating the Holocaust is the duty of every person, of every nation across the globe. And it is our generation’s obligation!
To deeply, existentially remember is to act on behalf of those who cannot. It is to speak up against antisemitism, hatred, bigotry or racism. It is to align our moral compass, to insert compassion, tzedakah (charity), and chesed (loving-kindness), and to see the image of God in every human being.
The State of Israel, established in the wake of the Holocaust as a guarantee that the Jewish People always have a home, will act to ensure Jews will never again be refugees.
We will exert every effort to enable every single Jew in the world to live a proud, free, safe Jewish life. We will combat the trivialization of the truth and prevent alternative facts from replacing history.
We will not allow the world to forget the depths of human cruelty executed by the Nazis and their collaborators. And we will march again next year.
May we all succeed in passing the torch to the next generations.
And allow me, dear friends, to thank the President of Poland, Mr. Duda, and his government, as well as the leadership of the March of the Living organization from around the world and the leadership from Israel. Some of our friends, unfortunately, have left us this year, including the founder Avraham Hirschson. But their spirit goes on. May we all march together again and again, and continue to say: Am Yisrael Chai! (The People of Israel Lives.) Thank you.”
President Isaac Herzog’s speech at the Closing Ceremony for Holocaust Martyrs’ and Heroes’ Remembrance Day 2022 at the Ghetto Fighters’ House
President Isaac Herzog spoke at the Closing Ceremony for Holocaust Martyrs’ and Heroes’ Remembrance Day 2022 at the Ghetto Fighters’ House. The ceremony this year is being held with the theme of “Our Legacy to Future Generations,” preserving the legacy of Holocaust survivors past and present.
During the ceremony, six torches were lit by Holocaust survivors, and six wreaths were laid by the children of Kibbutz Lohamei HaGeta’ot in memory of the six million Jews murdered in the Holocaust.
President Isaac Herzog’s full speech:
“Exactly twenty years ago, in April 2002, you, dear Zvi Gil, recited in the Valley of the Communities at Yad Vashem, where last night you lit a torch, for the sake of honor and eternal remembrance, what has come to be known as the “Survivors’ Manifest.” A manifest that addressed, in its own words, how “the memory of the Holocaust will be transformed from an imposed fate, etched on our flesh and our souls, to a historical destiny, which humanity and future generations bear the duty to suffuse with content and substance.”
At this sacred occasion, as we close this day of terrible majesty, a day that reminds us of the deepest abyss to which mankind has ever sunk, I wish to talk about the ways in which we can turn lessons into action. For this day is not only about the past, and we must not allow it to be only about the past; it is also about the responsibility that we bear, in the present and in the future.
My sisters and brothers, fate has decreed that we and our children be the last generation to have the privilege of hearing about the atrocities of the Holocaust from first-hand sources. And indeed, this is a tremendous privilege.
We are a remembering people. Jewish memory is an active endeavor. But the Holocaust must not become only a field of historical research. We must not make do with memory alone. This ceremony is taking place with the theme of “Our Legacy for Future Generations,” and Jewish tradition gives us tools for how to instill heritage and memory, and how to transform them into action.
Just a few days ago, we commemorated the Festival of Liberty and the Exodus from Egypt. When we sat around the Seder table, we learned that the verse “When, in time to come, a child of yours asks you” (Exodus 13:14) is the ultimate guarantee of memory. In other words, the path to memory, the path to instilling our formative story, runs through questions, through debate, and even through arguments—the heart of the Jewish method. Only thus can one feel that memory is one’s own. Only thus can one feel obligated to draw lessons from it, to turn study into action.
Here too, as on every subject, unto every generation, its own lessons; unto every period, its own lessons; and unto every community, its own lessons. We must not be startled by this fact, by this variety, by this mosaic. This is the only way in which the memory of the Holocaust and its lessons may continue to live within us. From generation to generation. Out of brainstorming. Out of inclusive debate. Out of shared thinking. Out of daily engagement, exactly as the Ghetto Fighters’ House Museum does.
Indeed, there is great value to the diversity of opinions among us. But there is common ground, and there are contours and boundaries, that we must absolutely not forfeit when we talk about the lessons of the Holocaust.
Number one: the State of Israel, as diverse as it is, with such an immense diversity of communities and faiths, is the national home of the Jewish People. We shall therefore forever preserve our ability to defend ourselves by ourselves.
Number two: the Jewish People and Israeli society must sanctify the value of mutual responsibility and refuse to forgo it, even in times of discord and arguments. The lessons of the past and the challenges of the moment compel us to know how to work together.
Number three: love of man, because “beloved is man, for he was created in the image of God” (Pirkei Avot 3:14).
Ladies and gentlemen, another duty that we bear is the duty to remember and invoke the memory of the mighty spirit of the victims, of the Righteous Among the Nations, of the partisans, and of the ghetto fighters. I wish to salute those who have worked night and day, with infinite devotion, determination, love, sensitivity, and a sense of mission, and who have been working day-in day-out, hour after hour, for the sake of the sacred task—yes, the truly sacred task—of preserving the memory and making it a heritage to be passed down the generations.
The Ghetto Fighters’ House has become, quite rightly, a central institution in the inculcation of the memory of the Holocaust and in the transmission of the values that we must assimilate as a result of being the bearers of this memory. Here, at the Ghetto Fighters’ House, although not only here, we remember your heroism, beloved Holocaust survivors—you who found the strength, arose from dust and ashes, and “walked with heads held high” (Leviticus 26:13).
You proved that the vision of Antek Zuckerman, Zivia Lubetkin, and their comrades, who were among the leaders of the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising and among those who laid the foundations of the kibbutz and museum here has come true. And indeed these mighty walls and living homes have taken the place of ruin and destruction. Thanks to you, thanks to your heroism, “our march will yet roar: we are here.”
Ladies and gentlemen, as is written in the “Survivors’ Manifest”: “Memory does not stand alone as an independent value, but is empowered as a moral duty.” Indeed, the memory of the Holocaust and its lessons obligate us. They obligate us to vigilantly guard the three values that I noted: the duty to the State of Israel and its power, the duty to the Jewish People and its cohesion, and the duty toward humanity and its morality. But these duties in fact represent privileges, sacred privileges. Privileges that we must revive once more in our hearts, until the last generation.
May the memories of the victims, the six million of our people, be bound and blessed in the heart of the nation, passing from generation to generation as a living, painful, and most of all instructive memory.
Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett:
Prime Minister Naftali Bennett Hosts Holocaust Survivor Aliza Landau in Zikaron Basalon Event
Prime Minister Naftali Bennett hosted Holocaust survivor Aliza Landau at the Prime Minister’s Office in Jerusalem, in the framework of the Zikaron Basalon (Memories in the Living Room) initiative, which involves personal visits by Holocaust survivors to recount their experiences.
Ms. Landau shared her testimony about her childhood during the Holocaust with the Prime Minister, SAHI volunteers and _Zikaron Basalon_ founder Adi Altschuler. Also attending the meeting were actress Maya Boenos, MK Shirly Pinto, MK Efrat Rayten and SAHI CEO Avraham Hayon.
Prime Minister Bennett at the start of the meeting:
“I am truly pleased to host Aliza, who will tell her story, and Adi Altschuler, who founded _Zikaron Basalon_.
My office, the Prime Minister’s office, is three meters from here, and nearby is the room of the Security Cabinet of the State of Israel where decisions about military operations, and diplomatic decisions, are made; the most significant decisions for the security of Israel.
Not a day goes by that I do not think about the sanctity of the responsibility that I bear, together with my colleagues, for the existence of the Jewish state in the land of Israel.
It is self-evident to us, the big words – we were born here; everything is self-evident. It is not self-evident.
Throughout most of our history, of the Jewish people, we did not live here in the land. Throughout most of our history we were thrown from one exile to another: From Spain to Morocco, from Poland to Ukraine, to Yemen and Iraq. Our existence was to be wandering and weak.
The nadir, the hardest point in the history of our people and in the history of humanity as a whole, is the Holocaust. Never was there an event in which an entire people, so ideologically motivated, sought to annihilate another people, not for some benefit, not to take their homes, but due to a satanic ideology.
My greatest lesson from here is that we have friends. We have allies near and far – and this is good. However, in the end, the Jewish people, the State of Israel, must always hold its destiny in its own hands, by ourselves. We must also be a good people that does good – that is good and strong. We cannot give up on either one of these.”
Holocaust survivor Aliza Landau told she hid in a forest with her father and brother, with very little food, and how one morning she saw her father weeping. A little girl, she felt this was the end of the world. When she asked her father why he was weeping, he replied that her brother had not survived, that he had perished from hunger. And then her father told her: ‘Where there are barking dogs, there are people. In the night, I want you to crawl there and ask the people for help.’ Aliza said that that day, when she was six, her father gave her his last will: ‘You go. You will be saved and you will rebuild our family.’
Aliza Landau concluded her remarks and said: ‘I fulfilled my father’s will. I built a family. I have three children and seven grandchildren; this is my personal victory over the Nazis.’ She added: ‘My message to the young people is that it is possible to overcome harsh traumas and remain a normative person and contribute.’
Prime Minister Naftali Bennett’s Holocaust Martyrs’ and Heroes’ Remembrance Day Speech at Yad Vashem
Following is a translation of Prime Minister Naftali Bennett’s Holocaust Martyrs’ and Heroes’ Remembrance Day speech at Yad Vashem in Jerusalem, this evening (Wednesday, 27 April 2022:
“I am holding in my hand a page of testimony.
For the younger generation, I will explain that a ‘page of testimony’ is an official form created by Yad Vashem that describes the basic details of the life of a Jew murdered in the Holocaust. When that person was born, what they did, the name of their parents and family and how they were murdered.
Over the decades, those who filled out these pages of testimony were usually family members or friends who could reliably and accurately describe the details of that Jewish person who perished in the Holocaust. I would like to read you the details of this page of testimony.
Last name of the murdered: Reich.
First name: Unlisted.
Place of birth: Auschwitz.
Place of death: Auschwitz.
Description of the circumstances of death: Taken from her mother in Auschwitz.
Age at death: Half an hour.
Details of the person filling out the page of testimony: Mother, Irene Reich.
My brothers and sisters, the Holocaust is an unprecedented event in human history. I take the trouble to say this because as the years go by, there is more and more discourse in the world that compares other difficult events to the Holocaust. But no. Even the most difficult wars today are not the Holocaust and are not comparable to the Holocaust.
No event in history, cruel as it may have been, is comparable to the Holocaust – the extermination of Europe’s Jews by the Nazis and their collaborators.
Unfortunately, history is full of cruel wars, brutal murders and also genocide. But it is usually a means designed to achieve a goal, some sort of expectation – military, political, economic, religious. The case of the extermination of the Jews is different.
Never, in any place or during any time, has one people acted to destroy another in such a planned, systematic and indifferent way, from a place of absolute ideology and not out of utilitarianism. The Nazis did not kill Jews to take their jobs or their homes. The Nazis sought to hunt all Jews and exterminate every last one of them.
A Jew in the Holocaust had no way of escape. No way to surrender, nowhere to be expelled to, no way of escape by conversion or change of behavior. Nothing. Because the extermination was carried out based on if you were a Jew, regardless of your actions.
The Germans spared no effort to carry out their work. For example, in April 1944, a special Gestapo team was sent to distant hiking trails in the French Alps to capture and murder 20 Jewish children, the youngest only four years old. So much energy just to kill some children.
At the end of the war, Nazi Germany continued to exterminate Jews even when it took away energy and resources from their war effort.
What brought them to this? Why?
The Holocaust is the ultimate, absolute expression of thousands of years of antisemitism. And why is there anti-Semitism?
How is it that over 3,500 years ago Pharaoh decided to exterminate all Hebrew males? And a thousand years later, Haman wanted to exterminate all the Jews? And why did England, 700 years ago, expel or kill its Jews? And 500 years ago, Spain followed suit, and 350 years ago so too in Yemen?
What is the motive, what is the reason for all these events? The answer is that there is no common denominator and there is no reason.
Hate is an easy emotion to operate and inflame. This darkest aspect of the human psyche sometimes erupts in the form of blind hatred for the other. That if only they would disappear, all problems would be solved.
In each of its manifestations, antis-Semitism takes a different form, supposedly finding a different cause. Sometimes we are slaughtered because we Jews have different customs — kosher food, Shabbat, prayers — which has led many Jews to blend in the nations of the world and even assimilate. But even then, anti-Semites attacked Jews precisely because they assimilated into the environment and ‘defiled’ their race.
The Jews are succeeding? It’s a reason for antisemitism. The Jews are failing and the poor are rebellious? It’s a reason for antisemitism. The Jews are a landless people, cut off from their land for generations? It’s a reason to hate them. The Jews have established a successful and strong state? It’s a reason to hate them.
Whenever we are tempted to believe that we have entered a new, liberal, modern era in which people no longer hold on to Jew hatred, reality awakens us to the truth.
What is the lesson? What should we do with this? My answer is clear:
Our critical imperative is to stand up for our own fate. Rely only on ourselves.
To be strong and never apologize for our very existence or our success.
We have built a strong and prosperous Jewish state in the Land of Israel. The goal — which we have no choice but to meet — is that the State of Israel must be the strongest. Always. To have the strongest army, with the best air force, with the bravest fighters, with the most sophisticated Mossad and Israel Security Agency, and above all, with the deepest conviction in the righteousness of our path.
The State of Israel is strong. We are building bridges to new and old friends and deepening our alliances. But alongside our friends and allies near and far, we must remember a basic truth: We will only be able to exist in our country if we deepen our roots in our land.
The Holocaust took place after nearly two thousand years of exile. The Jewish people are similar to a plant that requires a certain type of land. The plant can maybe live and even somehow survive in another place, but if it wants to fully grow and blossom, it must be rooted in its own land.
The Jewish people can live in the Diaspora and dream about Jerusalem, but eventually, the genuine and natural existence of our people can only truly take place by our physical presence in our original homeland, here in the Land of Israel. Building this homeland is an obligation but also an enormous privilege for all of us.
This ceremony commences the events of Holocaust Remembrance Day and also marks the middle point of the three weeks of our national rebirth. This begins with Passover, which commemorates the birth of our nation, and continues next week with our national Memorial Day for Israel’s Fallen Soldiers and concludes with Israel’s Independence Day.
The Jewish presence in the Land of Israel began nearly 4,000 years ago, and our every activity here in the State of Israel is an act of building and strengthening our land. Every home that we build, every baby that is born, every company that is established, every step that we take alongside our country’s streams, every song written, every act of kindness made between a person and his friend is another brick in this magnificent building that is called the State of Israel.
Building the State of Israel, the Jewish state in the Land of Israel, is in fact our victory over those who sought to wipe us out. Let us all embrace and safeguard our country.
Finally, one last point that is especially important these days. The Warsaw Ghetto Uprising is rightfully considered to be the pinnacle of Jewish heroism – an impossible battle of a handful of Jews against many Germans. We all grew up on this legacy.
Less talked about was the tragic fact that the two Jewish organizations that fought the Germans did so not as one body but rather as two competing organizations which failed to cooperate amongst themselves. Those two organizations were the Jewish Military Union, that belonged to the right-wing revisionist movement, and the Jewish Fighting Organization, that belonged to the left-wing socialist movement.
Yes. My brothers and sisters, even during the darkest chapter of Jewish history, during our people’s inferno of extermination, the left and the right did not find a way to work together. Each of these groups fought the Germans alone. I am trying to understand what ideological gap was so important that it was able to divide two Jewish organizations that were fighting such a desperate and heroic battle? What internal animosity justified such a division?
My brothers and sisters, we cannot, we simply cannot allow the same dangerous gene of factionalism dismantle Israel from within.
Today, thank G-d, in the State of Israel, we have one army, one government, one Knesset and one nation – the people of Israel. When we are united, no external enemy can beat us.
My brothers and sisters, may the memory of that Jewish baby girl who perished in the Holocaust even before she was given a name, together with the memory of the six million of our murdered brothers and sisters, be a blessing.”