Israel remembers the Holocaust
Thursday, April 19, 2012 | Ryan Jones
Israel on Thursday was the scene of solemn silence and piercing cries as every man, woman and child remembered the Holocaust, the most devious and the most successful attempt in history to destroy the Jewish people.
No matter how many times one hears it, the emotions stirred by the nation-wide siren blast at 10 AM on the morning of Holocaust Victims and Heroes Remembrance Day never diminish. It is humbling, and heartbreaking, to realize that at that exact moment, six million fellow Israelis are all standing together in tear-inducing silence in honor of six million European Jews whose lives were mercilessly snuffed out.
In Auschwitz, Poland a group of hundreds of Israelis and Diaspora Jews, including 50 Israeli soldiers, marched through the preserved remains of the largest of the Nazi death camps, as a squad of Israeli F15s roared overhead, a symbol that despite the best efforts of history’s most notorious villains, the people of Israel not only live, but are stronger than ever.
Back in Israel, the nation’s leaders presided over memorial ceremonies, insisting that such an atrocity would never again befall the Jewish people so long as there was a Jewish state to defend them.
But in the back of everyone’s minds is the growing concern that in less than a generation from now, the Holocaust will be redefined by Israel’s antagonists, if not forgotten completely.
Already today, foes like Iran’s Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, the Palestinian Authority’s Mahmoud Abbas and British author David Irving deny that the Holocaust ever happened, or try to paint it as a Jewish conspiracy. It is difficult for these revisionists to gain much mindshare at present as there are still Holocaust survivors living among us. But what happens when the last of those poor souls to personally experience the Nazis’ “Final Solution” is laid to rest?
When there are no more Holocaust survivors left, and one of the blackest chapters in human history is no longer a living memory, will any nation besides Israel continue to remember it for what it was? Will any nation besides Israel continue to believe that the spirit behind that horrific act of genocide remains active in the world today?
News Update April 19th 2012
JNN NEWS, P.O. Box 7411, Jerusalem 91073, Israel
“And who is like your people Israel – the one nation on earth that God when out to redeem as a people for himself….” 2 Sam 7:23
HOLOCAUST DAY 2012: Holocaust Remembrance Day began Wednesday evening, April 18, at the Yad Vashem Holocaust memorial in Jerusalem, in the presence of President Shimon Peres and PM Benjamin Netanyahu. The predominant theme of this year’s commemoration is “My Brother’s Keeper - Jewish Solidarity During the Holocaust.” Six survivors lit the torches representing the six million Jews murdered in the Holocaust. (Ha’aretz)
ISRAEL’S HOLOCAUST SURVIVORS RECEIVE INCREASED BENEFITS: The Israel Cabinet on Tuesday boosted the basket of services for Holocaust survivors to $60 million for 2012, a 13% increase. An additional $13 million will be directed toward increasing monthly stipends of particularly needy survivors. The move came a day before the country began its annual Holocaust Memorial Day for the six million Jews murdered by the Nazis in World War II. Less than 200,000 survivors remain in Israel. PM Netanyahu visited on Tuesday a Jerusalem home for the elderly, most of whose residents are Holocaust survivors, in order to assess the attitude toward its residents, as well as their care and living conditions. (AP) Pray for the healing of those broken in spirit and body as a result of crushing Holocaust memories and experiences.
BARAK SAYS ISRAEL NEVER RULED OUT ATTACKING IRAN: Israeli Defense Minister Ehud Barak said Tuesday his country has never promised the US it would hold off from attacking Iran while nuclear talks were taking place. The comments, in which Barak said a diplomatic push to reach a compromise with Iran was a waste of “precious time,” further exposed a rift between Israel and the US over how to deal with Iran and its nuclear program. Barak told Israel’s Army Radio he did not believe the talks would prevent Iran from developing a nuclear weapon. “We regret the time being lost. This is precious time,” he said. Earlier this week, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu stated Iran got a “freebie” from the international community, saying the May meeting gave the Iranians an additional five weeks to continue uranium enrichment without any restrictions. He said Iran should be forced to stop this immediately. (AP)
SHOWDOWN: IRAN MUST BE STOPPED: Former US Ambassador to the UN, John Bolton, delivered a clear and dire message in a recent special report for Newsmax. He said Iran’s quest for nuclear weapons poses a grave and immediate threat to the US and world peace. Bolton cited Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta’s assertion that Tehran could fabricate a nuclear weapon “within a year” - and warned that many analysts believe it could come sooner. “Time is running out for both Israel and the US,” said Bolton. He argued that either or both must launch a pre-emptive strike to halt Tehran. “Iran’s plan for a second Holocaust must be stopped,” he said. (Newsmax)
SWITZERLAND - A LOOPHOLE FOR IRANIAN ASSETS: Switzerland on Monday extended some financial sanctions against Iran, but stopped short of freezing the assets of Iran’s central bank and imposing an oil embargo. The move by Europe’s officially neutral nation underscored an emerging policy rift with other Western powers over Tehran’s nuclear ambitions. The Swiss Federal Council opted to freeze the assets of eight companies and three individuals in a move it claimed put Geneva in line with restrictive measures voted by the EU in January. But the Swiss Economics Ministry made it clear the country would not follow the EU in freezing the assets of the Iranian central bank “due to its importance for the Iranian economy.” As such, Geneva has turned itself into a banking sanctions loophole through which Iranian oil can be bought and sold. Closing banking channels for the purchase of Tehran’s oil has been a key element of the Western sanctions effort. Switzerland does not directly import Iranian oil, but numerous oil companies based in Geneva are deeply vested in trading Iranian oil on the commodities market. (INN)
SYRIAN FORCES VIOLATE CEASE- FIRE – RESUME ATTACK ON HOMS: The UK-based Syrian observatory for Human Rights says the Syrian regime on Wednesday resumed its attack on the city of Homs, battered by artillery for weeks. Syrian forces have continued their brutal onslaughts after a brief lull on the first day of a cease-fire. A small UN observer team is in Syria, but UN chief Ban-Ki-moon wants a larger mission of at least 250 members backed up by planes and helicopters. (AP) “Their brave men cry aloud in the streets. The envoys of peace weep bitterly.” Isa 33:7
PA’S FAYYAD IS NO-SHOW AT SCHEDULED MEETING WITH NETANYAHU: Palestinian Authority PM Salam Fayyad - without saying why - refused at the last minute to attend a scheduled meeting with his Israeli counterpart, Benjamin Netanyahu. Instead, a Palestinian delegation on Tuesday personally delivered a letter from president Mahmud Abbas to Prime Minister Netanyahu in which he details his grievances over the failure of the peace process. The delegation was initially supposed to be a top-level meeting led by Fayyad, but it ended up a low key affair after officials confirmed at the last minute the PA premier would not be taking part. Palestinian negotiator Nabil Shaath said the main aim of the letter is to challenge the Israeli leader over the collapse of the peace process, saying its objective was to “put Mr. Netanyahu on the spot.” Israel says it wants negotiations without preconditions, but the Palestinians have sought a settlement freeze before returning to the table. Both sides confirmed Netanyahu would respond with his own letter to Abbas “within two weeks.” (Yahoo) The historical record does not bear out the idea that a settlement freeze is the indispensable condition for solving the Israeli-Arab conflict. The Oslo Accords in 1993, Camp David in 2000, the negotiations at Annapolis in 2007 were all conducted without a settlement freeze. Conversely, in August 2005, when Israel evacuated all of the settlements in Gaza and four in the northern West Bank, the result was - more terror attacks. PA leaders have unceasingly put impossible demands on the Jewish state, which include the freezing of all expansion in many of the Jewish state’s most mature and thriving communities and a return to unsafe borders. In return for a false peace they have not been willing – at any juncture- to make even a single small concession to those irrational mandates as a gesture of cooperation.
LIEBERMAN: PA BLAMES ISRAEL FOR EVERYTHING: Palestinian Authority Chairman Mahmoud Abbas is not truly interested in reaching an agreement with Israel, Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman said Tuesday, speaking to President of Cyprus Dimitris Christofias. The PA prefers to blame Israel for all its problems, rather than solve them, he said. Israel’s relationship with Cyprus has improved significantly over the past two years. Lieberman spoke with officials about possible ties in the fields of energy, investment, water, tourism and more. (INN) Continue to pray for Israel’s good relations to continue and develop with Cyprus and other Middle East nations such as Azerbaijan.
BEWARE A TSUNAMI OF HATE SAYS EUROPEAN JEWISH LEADER: The Middle East conflict has been imported into Europe and may cause a “tsunami of hate” against Jews, European Jewish Congress President, Dr. Moshe Kantor, warned this week. Speaking for a press conference at Tel Aviv University, he said, “The Middle East conflict has been imported into Europe and serves as an excuse for antisemitic attacks against the Jewish citizens of Europe. This is absolutely unacceptable and should be removed at all levels, from the enforcement authorities to government officials. There should be zero tolerance for the idea that it is natural that what happens in the Middle East will affect the Jews of Europe or elsewhere.” He warned there could be a “tsunami of hate” if there is an escalation in the Middle East or if there is a military attack on Iran’s nuclear facilities. Kantor plans to present to European leaders a pan-European program to implement measures to prevent future antisemitic attacks, including legislation to “define and protect the Jewish community from violent crimes and incitement, which is flourishing in the mosques of Europe. The Kantor Center’s Program for Study of Antisemitism and Racism at Tel Aviv University released their 2011 Antisemitism Report on Wednesday. The report noted both a “continuation and even escalation of harassment and incitement” targeting Jews during 2011. (INN)
Deputy Minister of Pensioner Affairs Leah Nass stressed on Wednesday the importance of collecting testimonies from Holocaust survivors.
Nass, who has been leading two projects that deal with documentation of survivors’ testimonies and care for their rights, spoke to Arutz Sheva on Yom Hashoah, Holocaust Memorial Day.
She explained that with each day that passes we lose more and more survivors who could tell about what happened to them during the Holocaust.
“About 200 thousand Holocaust survivors are living with us today and only ten percent of them have documented what they went through,” said Nass. “It is important to us that each fragment of memory will be published. Therefore, we initiated a project of called LeDorot (for Generations in Hebrew) in which we approach Holocaust survivors, often with the help of volunteers who come to their homes. The survivors are encouraged to tell their story, and all the stories are uploaded to the Yad Vashem website.”
Deputy Minister Nass said that the project is essentially a race against time. “To date we have documented thousands of Holocaust survivors, but it’s a race against time, because every day we lose more than thirty Holocaust survivors. With more and more Holocaust deniers making their voices heard every day, it is important to document as much as possible.”
She added that as a daughter of Holocaust survivors, she is very sorry that she did not have the chance to document her parents’ stories.
“Both my parents went through the horrors, and today they are no longer among the living,” said Nass. “My parents told us from infancy what happened, but we never documented it. Today I am left with fragments of memories, but without the full story. That’s why we want each living survivor to record his experiences in the Holocaust. It’s not simple, because some survivors may find it hard to talk about what happened, but we explain to them the great importance of it, and for some it even slightly diminishes the loneliness.”
A second project headed by Nass’ office is called La’ad (Forever) and is meant to reach all those Holocaust survivors who have yet to exercise their rights.
“There’s always criticism that we have to give more, but some survivors have not yet taken advantage of what the State already gives,” she said. “Some have not yet turned to the State and therefore we use volunteers to reach all the survivors. So far we’ve reached about 120 thousand survivors.”