Israel commemorates victims and survivors on Holocaust Remembrance day (HA´ARETZ NEWS) By Nir Hasson and Jack Khoury 04/19/12)
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Holocaust Remembrance Day began Wednesday night at the Yad Vashem
Holocaust memorial in Jerusalem, in the presence of President Shimon
Peres and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. The central theme of
this year´s commemoration is "My Brother´s Keeper - Jewish Solidarity
During the Holocaust."
Six survivors of the Holocaust will light the torches representing
the six million Jews murdered in the Holocaust.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu told the crowd gathered at Yad
Vashem,“Our enemies tried to bury the Jewish future but our future
was born again in the land of our forefathers, here we built a base,
and a new beginning of freedom, and hope and action.”
He went on to say that today’s generation “faces calls to exterminate
the Jewish State,” and that lessons of the past must not be
forgotten. He focused on Iran, calling it an existential threat to
Israel, and to world peace, said "It is the world’s responsibility to
stop Iran securing nuclear weapons."
Netanyahu alluded to claims that he has associated the Iran threat
with the Holocaust, “I completely reject this attitude,” he said. “To
fear telling the truth, which is that there are those today who also
seek to destroy millions of Jews, is to disrespect the Holocaust and
insult its victims. The Prime Minister of Israel is not only allowed
to conjure the memory of a third of our people when speaking of
existential threats, it is his duty.”
During his speech, President Peres said: "My brothers and sisters,
Tonight, too, our teary eyes will be cast upon those who are no
longer with us. And our wide-open eyes will look toward the future
that lies ahead."
During Passover," he added, "I traveled all over Israel. Blue skies.
Blooming fields. Beautiful children. Hard-working people. I thought
about the communities from whence they came, and that are no longer
with us. For a moment I replaced Tel Aviv with Vilna, Haifa with
Białystock, Degania, Nahalal, Be´er Sheva with Plonsk, Riga, and
The ceremony was marred by an accident earlier on Wednesday, when a
female Israel Defense Forces officer in her twenties was killed, and
at least 5 other officers were injured after a lighting rig collapsed
above a stage on Mount Herzl in Jerusalem.
Dozens of people were participating in a rehearsal for an
Independence Day ceremony, due to take place next week, when the rig
collapsed. One person was moderately injured and four others lightly
"A million and a half non-Jews live in Israel," Peres said in his
speech. "We are committed that none of them will be discriminated
against due to their nationality or religion. That is the essence of
the state of Israel. It is a protecting force, a safe haven, and a
"We used to be a question mark; today we are a strong country," Peres
said. "Humanity has no choice but to learn from the lessons of the
Holocaust and stand strong in the face of existential threats, before
it is too late," Peres said.
He added: "Iran is at the center of this threat. It is the center of
terror. It constitutes a threat to world peace. There is no room to
underestimate Israel´s known and hidden capabilities to deal with
this threat. (© Copyright 2012 Ha´aretz 04/19/12)
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