image Photo: Flash90

World Holocaust Forum commences

Forty-nine delegations from around the world are to attend the Fifth World Holocaust Forum in Jerusalem, commemorating the 75th anniversary of the liberation of Nazi Auschwitz-Birkenau concentration camp. The gathering marks the largest diplomatic event in the history of the State of Israel.

National police have been bolstering security in the Israeli capital and the Ben Gurion International Airport as part of increased measures to safeguard the attendance of world leaders. Israeli Police Spokesperson, Chief Inspector Micky Rosenfeld, said that “more than 6,300 police officers from counter-terrorism units, under cover units, border police and special patrol units” are involved in implementing security. While Rosenfeld said there have been no “specific warnings,” local forces are fully involved in joint-operations with overseas security services accompanying the international delegations at the Yad Vashem World Holocaust Memorial in Jerusalem, as well as the hotels where they are staying. The high security level will remain in effect until this coming Friday afternoon, at the conclusion of the event.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and President Reuven Rivlin have been busy with greeting ceremonies and meetings with the numerous visiting foreign leaders.  that have already started to arrive in Jerusalem. The Israeli premier highlighted the importance of reminding the international delegations of how far the Jewish people have come since their attempted genocide by the Nazi regime during WWII; as well as the remarkable achievements of the Jewish State since its founding in 1948.

After concluding a breakfast meeting with French President Emmanuel Macron this morning, Prime Minister Netanyahu described the talks as “pleasant, warm and very productive.” He added that the “wide-array of topics” under discussion included “Iran, Iraq, Syria, Lebanon, Turkey, Libya and several other nations.” Netanyahu also revealed that he and Macron “agreed to commence on strategic dialogue between France and Israel, to allow us to continue cooperation amid our joint interests,” saying that “it is a very important change for Israel’s foreign policy, which can assist us in many important issues that are vital for Israel’s security.”

The Israeli Premier said he also praised Emmanuel Macron for his “steadfast position against antisemitism, which has found expression, for example, in his visit here in Jerusalem.” In addition, Netanyahu called on Macron “to deal with the matter regarding the murderer of Sarah Halimi,” a 65-year-old Jewish woman who was murdered in Paris two years ago by an assailant shouting “Allahu Akhbar,” who evaded incarceration due to an insanity defense. Netanyahu said that following his request that the French President “act on the extradition of a murderer who murdered Jews in France and is now in Ramallah,” Macron “promised to check on both issues.”

Other notable leaders who arrived in Israel today include Russian President Vladimir Putin, U.S. Vice President Mike Pence, German President Frank Walter-Steinmeier,  Charles, Prince of Wales, Spanish King Felipe VI, King Philippe of Belgium, Finnish President Sauli Niinisto, as well as the leaders of Albania, North Macedonia, Cyprus, the Czech Republic and Slovenia.