Today in Israel, we marked Holocaust Memorial Day – or, to give it its full, official title: יום הזכרון לשואה ולגבורה – Yom Hazikaron La’shoa ve’lagvura – Holocaust and Heroism Memorial Day.
What is the connection between Holocaust and Heroism?
There is more than one type of heroism. There is the kind of heroism we know about from the Warsaw Ghetto uprising but there is also the quiet heroism of people who saw their entire families destroyed and who, themselves, went through the hell of the death camps and yet, somehow, found the strength to keep on living and to start new families after the Liberation – who found the strength to say “Am Yisrael Chai – The Jewish People lives.”
Many of those survivors made their home in the nascent Jewish State of Israel after the War. The same Jewish State which is now being slowly and systematically demonised and de-legitimised by antisemites disguised as anti-Zionists, under the patronage of the United Nations Organisation – that same UNO which voted the State of Israel into existence on November 29, 1948. I nearly said “the same UNO which created the State of Israel” but that would have been untrue. Other than pass the Partition Resolution, the UN did nothing to create the State of Israel. The Jewish People had to fight for it, every valley, every plain, every mountain and every grain of sand.
At the Holocaust Memorial Day opening ceremony last night, Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu posed a rhetorical question – the same question that was posed by Yad Vashem Council chairman, Rabbi Israel Meir Lau, at the International Holocaust Memorial Day Ceremony at the UN in Geneva in January this year. “Has the World Learned the Lessons of the Holocaust?”
Sadly, both men came to the same conclusion. The world has learned nothing. And that is why Netanyahu is right – if ever the Jewish People should again find itself facing annihilation, we can expect no help from the governments of the world. Expressions of sympathy there may be aplenty, but action?
I will leave you with Prime Minister Netanyahu’s words from last night: “We cannot entrust our fate to others. Our relationships with the countries of the world are important to us, but if we are unable to defend ourselves, the world will not stand by us. We shall stand strong against those who seek our destruction. Our enemies should know one thing about the Jewish People: when the People of Israel and the Israel Defence Forces say “Never Again“, we mean it – every word of it.”