Full Text Israel Political Brief July 2, 2015: PM Benjamin Netanyahu’s Remarks on the Passing of Sir Nicholas Winton, the British Schindler Transcript

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PM Netanyahu’s Remarks on the Passing of Sir Nicholas Winton

Source: PMO, 7-2-15

Following are Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s remarks on the passing of Sir Nicholas Winton:

“The Jewish people and the State of Israel owe an eternal debt to Nicholas Winton who singlehandedly saved hundreds of Jewish children from the Nazis.

In a world plagued by evil and indifference, Winton dedicated himself to saving the innocent and the defenseless. His exceptional moral leadership serves as an example to all humanity.

Nicholas Winton will forever be remembered by us with the deepest admiration and gratitude. Our thoughts and prayers are with his family.”

 

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Full Text Israel Political Brief June 17, 2015: PM Benjamin Netanyahu Meets with Archaeological Team Responsible for the Discovery of a Clay Jar from the Time of King David

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PM Netanyahu Meets with Archaeological Team Responsible for the Discovery of a Clay Jar from the Time of King David

Source: PMO, 6-17-15


Photo by Haim Zah, GPO

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, today, met with the archaeological team responsible for the discovery – at Khirbet Qeiyafa in the Elah Valley – of a rare inscription, on a clay jar, from the time of King David. The archaeologists told the Prime Minister about the jar and noted that up until five years ago there were no known inscriptions from the Kingdom of Judah in the 10th century BCE. The team pointed out that four have been discovered in recent years – two from Khirbet Qeiyafa, one from Jerusalem and one from Beit Shemesh, thus attesting that writing was more widespread than previously thought.

Among those attending today’s meeting were Prof. Yosef Garfinkel of the Hebrew University Institute of Archaeology, Saar Ganor from the Israel Antiquities Authority, and other IAA personnel who were involved in the excavations.

Prime Minister Netanyahu said, “This is an amazing find and a very important discovery. It attests to what happened here, in this country, in the time of King David.”

Full Text Israel Political Brief May 13, 2015: PM Netanyahu’s Remarks at the Knesset Special Session Marking Victory Over Nazi Germany Day

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PM Netanyahu’s Remarks at the Knesset Special Session Marking Victory Over Nazi Germany Day

Source: PMO, 5-13-15

-Translation-
Every child in Israel learns the story of Joseph Trumpeldor, whose bravery still serves as an example of sacrifice for one’s country. But anyone who digs deeper into the role played by Jewish fighters in the campaign to defeat Nazi Germany discovers that in the ranks of our people are hundreds of thousands of additional heroes. These courageous fighters, imbued with a sense of mission, were the ones who seven decades ago freed humanity from the bloody nightmare imposed on it during six years of war.

Approximately one and a half million Jewish soldiers were among the ranks of the Allied armies fighting the Nazis. The majority of them served in the Red Army and the American army. Out of half a million Jewish fighters in the Red Army, more than 200,000 men and women died in battle. This is an unbelievable percentage of fallen soldiers by any measure, both in terms of the rate and in terms of the enormous number. Anyone who has been in battle knows how vast that number is. Many of them were young men and women, 17, 18 years old, who said goodbye to their parents before leaving for the front and never saw them again.

The fighting along the long and twisting Eastern Front, in snow, in mud, took place over 1,418 days, from Moscow to Berlin and Prague, and yes, Mr. Speaker, through Stalingrad and Kursk and all those places which echo from the pages of history. For you, they are a part of your personal history. This whole route is littered with your fallen countrymen, buried without a grave or a headstone.

This was not just the collision of tank with tank, submarine with submarine, plane with plane. In numerous cases, the soldiers of the Red Army charged at the Germans with knives, axes, shovels, even pitchforks, and often with bare hands.

The holding actions and the shift to counterattacks between 1942 and 1943 succeeded in shattering the myth of an invincible Nazi army. This is the first stage of any victory – the change, the enemy’s understanding that they are going to lose. And as the war progressed, the Soviet Army landed blow after blow on the Germans. It happened parallel to and at the same time as the attacks by the other Allied armies from the West, including Jewish fighters who landed and fought on the beaches of Normandy, and in all the battles from that point on. This effort pushed the Nazis back and led to their final surrender in May 1945.

Dear veterans, I know your lives were divided in two – before the war and after it. And despite the time that has passed, you can still recall the smallest details of every step, every operation, every battle. Your lives changed beyond recognition during those difficult years. Your remember with great pain your comrades who fell, your loved ones who did not live to see the moment of victory, but at the same time you can hold your heads high because it is thanks to you that the free world survived and that the Jewish people were saved from annihilation.

The historical lesson of what occurred is that radical regimes that call for genocide and seek to invade other countries cannot be conceded to. When faced with the enemies of freedom, enlightenment and progress, one should stand forcefully, in a timely fashion, to prevent them from having the opportunity to make use of destructive tools to realize their murderous aspirations.

The new government that will soon be sworn in will face many challenges – political, military, economic and social, but the ongoing challenge of the Iranian threat will take a central place. Just today the Arab press quoted an Iranian senior official saying that Iran has divine permission to eliminate Israel. He said that even if an agreement is not reached on the nuclear issue, Iran has a holy mission that it will not give up – to destroy the State of Israel. These statements are heard by representatives negotiating with Iran and they continue on as usual.

The Iranian threat does not pass over any of us – Jew and Arab alike. The missiles their Hezbollah proxies fired at us did not distinguish between Jew and Arab in the State of Israel. Iran’s efforts to acquire a nuclear weapon, while at the same time expanding its tentacles of terror across the Middle East, obligate us to determinedly defend our sovereignty and security.

We do not stand alone against Iran’s fanaticism. There are many countries, even in our immediate surroundings, which correctly see in Iran’s steps the danger to the peace of the world and to their own peace. I believe that here are sown the seeds to expand the circle of parties in our region that will soon extend their hands to us in peace. The horrible damage caused Islamist extremism is clear to everyone. It is time that the moderate countries make their voices heard – to make alliances, to create cooperation, to establish friendly relations and peace.

At the same time, we do not stop in our efforts to warn the world powers that a conciliatory agreement with Iran will turn out to be a mistake that will exact a very heavy cost, and in any event Israel will defend itself by itself against any threat. Unlike in the past, we have the strength to defend ourselves from threats of destruction, those same threats we could not defend ourselves against 70 years ago.

One of the veterans said to me, “In the Soviet Union and in Israel, defending the homeland is a profession.” I would add also a mission. There were years during which we stared in amazement and wonder at your many medals, even though not everyone knew your stories. However, with time, things have changed and today, when you march in front of us in glory and splendor, we see ourselves as those who stand with you in a single line.

I participated in a moving and wonderful ceremony at Latrun the other day. It was an experience for all the participants to see the stories of the Jewish fighters from around the world, dramatic, heartwarming, heartbreaking stories. It was just as moving to see the grandchildren – officers and soldiers in the IDF – your grandchildren, standing there and expressing the meaning of heritage, their profound commitment, what they learned from you. Because your heroism, the heroism of the veterans who saved the world, is the heroism of the fighters in the Israel Defense Forces who defend the State of Israel. Both that heroism and this one are intertwined. Your past and your present are integrated in order to ensure a better and safer future for the State of Israel.

We salute your courage and honor your resilience. The people of Israel owe you their lives, and humanity owes you its deliverance from the darkness. Be strong and of good courage, congratulations on your tremendous work. Thank you.

Full Text Israel Political Brief April 15, 2015: PM Benjamin Netanyahu’s Yom HaShoah Holocaust Remembrance Day Address at Yad Vashem — Transcript

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Holocaust Remembrance Day Address by PM Netanyahu at Yad Vashem

Source: PMO, 4-15-15

Photo: Haim Zah, GPO 

[Translation]

Seventy years ago, the bells of freedom rang out across the free world. The horrific nightmare that had engulfed all humanity in blood had come to an end in Europe. But the day the Nazis were vanquished was not only a day of relief and jubilation. It was also a day of great sorrow for our nation, and a day of reflection for the world’s leaders. Leaders of modern countries realized that it was a propitious time to establish a new world order based on defending liberty, eradicating evil and opposing oppression. They articulated the most important lesson of World War II: democracies must not turn a blind eye to the aspirations of tyrannous regimes to expand. A conciliatory attitude toward these regimes only increases their propensity for aggression. And if such aggression is not stopped in time, humanity might find itself in a much bloodier battle.

In the years before World War II, the free world tried to appease the Nazi regime, to gain its trust, to curry its favor through gestures. There were those who warned that this concessionary policy would only whet Hitler’s appetite, but these warnings were ignored due to the natural human desire for calm at all costs. And indeed, the price was exacted not long after, and it was too heavy to bear – six million of our people were slaughtered in the Holocaust, and millions of others were killed in this terrible inferno.

When the war ended, the conclusion was clear: there is no room for weakness when facing tyrannous regimes that send their murderous tentacles in every direction. Only by standing firm and adhering to the values of liberty and tolerance can we ensure the future of humankind.
There are many around the world who claim that the lessons learned then are still valid today. They affirm: “Never again!” They declare: “We will not turn a blind eye to the expansionist intentions of a violent tyranny.” They promise: “We will oppose evil as soon as it begins.” But as long as these announcements are not backed by practical actions – they are meaningless. Did the world really learn a lesson from the inconceivable universal and Jewish tragedy of last century? I wish I could stand here and tell you that the answer to this was yes.

Today, ever more threats challenge human civilization. Radical Islamist forces are flooding the Middle East, destroying remnants of the past, torturing the helpless, murdering innocents. They hope to establish caliphates, more than one, like in the Middle Ages. At the same time, the extremist regime in Iran is oppressing its people; it is rushing forward and submerging the Middle East in blood and suffering – in Yemen, in Syria, in Lebanon, in Iraq, in Gaza and across the border of the Golan Heights.

Just as the Nazis aspired to crush civilization and to establish a “master race” to replace it and control the world while annihilating the Jewish people, so too does Iran strive to gain control over the region, from which it would spread further, with the explicit intent of obliterating the Jewish state. Iran is advancing in two tracks: the first is in developing the ability to arm itself with nuclear weapons and stockpile ballistic missiles; and the second – exporting the Khomeinist revolution to many countries by widely using terrorism and taking over large parts of the Middle East. Everything is out in the open – it is all taking place in broad daylight, in front of the cameras. And yet, the blindness is immense.

“For, behold, darkness shall cover the earth, and gross darkness the peoples,” said the Prophet Isaiah. The determination and lessons that were acquired through blood seventy years ago are now dissipating, and the darkness and fog of denying reality are taking their place. The bad deal that is being made with Iran demonstrates that the historic lesson has not been internalized. The West is yielding in the face of Iran’s aggressive actions. Instead of demanding a significant dismantling of the nuclear program in Iran – a country that clearly states its plans to exterminate six million Jews here and elsewhere, to eradicate many countries and many regimes – the superpowers back down. They are leaving Iran with its nuclear capabilities intact, and even allowing it to expand them later on, regardless of Iran’s actions in the Middle East and around the world.

As the civilized world is lulled into slumber on a bed of illusions, the rulers of Iran continue to encourage subversion and terrorism and disseminate destruction and death. The superpowers turn a deaf ear to the crowds in Iran shouting: “Death to America; Death to Israel.” They turn a blind eye to the executions of those who oppose the regime and of members of minority populations. And they hold their peace in the face of the massive arming of terrorist organizations. At most, they make a halfhearted statement for the record.

I have heard that in honor of Holocaust Remembrance Day a competition with prizes is soon to take place in Tehran with participants from 56 countries. It is a Holocaust denial cartoon competition. Will we hear protests? At best, a minor condemnation might be heard; that will minimally fulfill their obligation.

Distinguished guests, Israeli citizens and representatives of other countries,
The bubble of this illusion is going to burst. Democratic governments made a critical mistake before World War II, and we are convinced – and I must say that many of our neighbors are too – that they are making a grave mistake now too. It is possible that this partnership with many of our neighbors, the partnership in identifying threats, will be the foundation for the partnership to forge a better, safer and more peaceful future in our region. Meanwhile, we will not flinch. We will continue to insist on the truth, and we will do everything we can to open the eyes that are shut.

I do not want to mislead anyone. We have tests ahead of us. We are in the midst of a great battle against the enervation, the weakness, the denial of reality – we will stand with our full force.

While there are those who refuse to understand our position, there are many others who identify with us. But even if we are compelled to stand alone, we will not be afraid. In any scenario, in any situation, we will safeguard our right, we will maintain our ability, we will keep our resolve to defend ourselves.

Seventy years ago we were war refugees, powerless and voiceless. Today we express what we have to say, and we are determined to safeguard our existence and our future. It is our duty to fight those who wish to destroy us, not to bow down to them or to downplay reality. We will not allow the State of Israel to be a passing episode in the history of our people.

Distinguished guests,
Today in my office I met an 85-year-old Holocaust survivor, Abraham Niederhoffer. Abraham was born in Romania. When he was 12 years old he witnessed the brutal murder of his relatives by a Romanian soldier. He was taken on a cattle train to Ukraine, where he survived the Holocaust. Due to the persistent refusal of the communist authorities in Romania to permit his emigration, he only came to Israel in 1969. Here he worked as an engineer and supervisor, contributing to the building of the country. He told me his story with great emotion, so much so that he had to pause several times. At the end of the meeting, he beseeched me, “Prime Minister,” he said, “it is your duty to prevent another Holocaust.” And I responded: “That is exactly how I see my responsibility. That is exactly how I see my responsibility.”

Seven decades ago, the survivors emerged from the camps, from the forests, from the March of Death, battered and bruised with nothing but the tattered clothes on their backs. Upon their release, the prisoners of the camps from all nations were asked by the Allied soldiers where each one wished to go. The Poles returned to Poland; the Russians returned to Russia; the Hungarians – to Hungary; the Ukrainians – to Ukraine. But a great many of them had nowhere to return to. They stood hopeless, because they did not have their own country.

Today, we have our own country – a flourishing and modern country; a country that rests on the heritage of our forefathers and stands at the vanguard of global knowledge; a country that disseminates a great light; a country that has taken charge of its destiny. Seventy years after the valleys of death, we revere the living, the vibrant, the creative, the flourishing.

Israel breaks ground on every front of modernization – in science, medicine, technology, agriculture, education and culture. And we do this not only for our people. We do this for the benefit of all humanity. This is what our existence is based upon – on our commitment to the safety and future of Israel, on the deference to our heritage, and on the unity of a nation in which a vast life force shines. The nation of Israel, which has arisen from the hellfire, is ready for any challenge.

“Shake thyself from the dust; put on thy beautiful garments, my people.” The eternal nation has shaken itself from the dust, returned home, stood tall, established an outstanding country and an outstanding army, the Israel Defense Force, in which our brave and courageous sons and daughters serve.

We will remember those who were murdered, we will guarantee life.

דברי ראש הממשלה נתניהו בטקס יום הזיכרון לשואה ולגבורה ביד ושם

 

15/04/2015

יום רביעי כ”ו ניסן תשע”ה

– הטקסט עבר התאמת עריכה –

מכובדי נשיא מדינת ישראל ראובן ריבלין ורעייתו נחמה,
נשיאת ביהמ”ש העליון מרים נאור ובעלה פרופ’ אריה נאור,
יו”ר הכנסת יולי אדלשטיין,
הרבנים הראשיים,
שרים,
חברי כנסת,
אבנר שלו, יו”ר יד ושם,
מכובדיי הרבים מן הארץ ומן העולם,
ניצולי השואה היקרים לנו, חסידי אומות העולם שנותנים מופת לאנושות כולה,
אזרחי ישראל,

לפני שבעים שנה צלצלו פעמוני החירות ברחבי העולם החופשי. סיוט האימים שהשקיע את האנושות כולה במצולות של דם – בא לקצו באירופה. אך יום הניצחון על הנאצים לא היה רק יום של הקלה ושמחה. הוא היה יום מהול בעצב נורא לעמנו, אבל הוא גם יום של חשבון נפש למנהיגי העמים. מנהיגי המדינות הנאורות הבינו שזוהי שעת כושר לכונן סדר עולמי חדש שמתבסס על הגנת החופש, מיגור הרשע והתנגדות לעריצות. הם ביטאו בקול רם וצלול את הלקח העיקרי של מלחמת העולם השנייה: לדמוקרטיות אסור להעלים עין מכוונות ההתפשטות של משטרי הרודנות. פייסנות כלפי משטרים אלה רק מגבירה את נטייתם לתוקפנות. ואם תוקפנות זו לא תיבלם בזמן, עלולה האנושות להיקלע למלחמות קשות הרבה יותר.

בשנים שקדמו למלחמת העולם השנייה, העולם החופשי ניסה לפייס את המשטר הנאצי, לרכוש את אמונו בוויתורים, לקנות את רצונו הטוב במחוות. היו אמנם מי שהזהירו שמדיניות פשרנית זו רק תגביר את תיאבונו של היטלר. אך האזהרות האלו נדחו הצדה מכוח הטבע האנושי הטבעי, לקנות שקט בכל מחיר. ואכן המחיר לא איחר לבוא – והוא היה כבד מנשוא. שישה מיליון בני עמנו שנטבחו בשואה, ועשרות מיליוני בני-אדם נוספים שנהרגו בתופת הנוראה.

בגמר המלחמה, המסקנה הייתה חותכת: אין מקום לרפיון מול משטרי עריצות ששולחים את זרועותיהם הרצחניות לכל עבר. רק עמידה איתנה מולם, תוך שמירה על ערכי החירות והסובלנות – רק עמידה כזו תבטיח את עתיד האנושות.

רבים בעולם מצהירים שהלקחים שהופקו אז, תקפים גם היום. הם מכריזים: “לעולם לא עוד”. הם מצהירים: “לא נעלים עין משאיפות ההתפשטות של רודנות אלימה”. הם מבטיחים: “נתנגד לדברים הרעים בתחילתם”. אבל כל עוד למלים הללו אין ביטוי בפועל – הן חסרות משמעות. ובכן, האם העולם באמת למד מהטרגדיה הבלתי נתפסת, האוניברסלית והיהודית, של המאה הקודמת? הלוואי שהייתי יכול לעמוד כאן ולומר לכם שהתשובה לכך חיובית.

בימים אלה הולכים ומתרבים האיומים על התרבות האנושית. כוחות האסלאם הקיצוני שוטפים את המזרח התיכון, משמידים את שרידי העבר, מתעללים בחסרי ישע, טובחים בחפים מפשע, ומבקשים להקים ח’ליפות, אפילו יותר מאחת, בסגנון ימי הביניים. במקביל, המשטר הקנאי באיראן מדכא את עמו, שועט קדימה ומטביע בדם וסבל את המזרח התיכון: בתימן, בסוריה, בלבנון, בעיראק, בעזה ומול גולן.

כשם שהנאצים שאפו לרמוס את הציוויליזציה ולהשליט במקומה את “הגזע העליון” עלי אדמות, תוך השמדתו של העם היהודי – כך חותרת איראן להשתלט על האזור וממנו להתפשט הלאה, תוך כוונה מוצהרת להשמיד את מדינת היהודים. איראן מתקדמת בשני נתיבים: הראשון – פיתוח יכולת להתחמש בנשק גרעיני ובניית מאגר של טילים בליסטיים. השני – ייצוא של המהפכה החומייניסטית לארצות רבות, תוך שימוש מסיבי בטרור ובכיבוש של שטחים נרחבים במזרח התיכון. הכל גלוי לעין. הכל מתרחש לאור יום ולעיני המצלמות. ובכל זאת העיוורון גדול.

“כי הנה החושך יכסה ארץ, וערפל לאומים”, אומר הנביא ישעיהו. הנחישות והלקחים שנקנו בדמים רבים לפני שבעים שנה, כל אלה מתפוגגים היום. את מקומם תופסים החושך והערפל של הכחשת המציאות. ההסכם הרע שמתגבש עם איראן מלמד שהלקח ההיסטורי לא הופנם. מול פעולותיה האגרסיביות של איראן – המערב מוותר. במקום לדרוש פירוק משמעותי של יכולת הגרעין של איראן, מדינה שאומרת בפירוש שהיא הולכת להשמיד שישה מיליון יהודים כאן, ולא רק כאן, להשמיד הרבה מדינות והרבה משטרים – במקום לדרוש זאת ובמקום להתנות את הסרת המגבלות המוטלות עליה בהפסקת תוקפנותה – המעצמות נסוגות. הן משאירות בידי איראן את היכולות הגרעיניות שלה ואף מאפשרות לה להרחיבן בהמשך, ללא קשר למעשיה של איראן במזרח התיכון וברחבי העולם.

בעוד העולם התרבותי שוקע בתרדמת על מצע של אשליות –שליטי איראן מעודדים חתרנות וטרור, מפיצים הרס ומוות. למשמע המונים שקוראים בטהרן: “מוות לאמריקה, מוות לישראל” – המעצמות אוטמות את אוזניהן. למראה ההוצאות להורג של מתנגדי המשטר ובני קבוצות המיעוט באוכלוסייה, הן עוצמות את עיניהן. ונוכח החימוש המסיבי של ארגוני טרור, הן ממלאות פיהן מים. לכל היותר, הן משמיעות אמירה רפה למען הפרוטוקול.

בדקתי ומצאתי שלקראת יום הזיכרון לשואת עמנו, “התבשרנו” שבקרוב תתקיים בטהראן תחרות בינלאומית עם נציגים מחמישים ושש מדינות, תחרות נושאת פרסים של איורים העוסקים בהכחשת השואה של העם היהודי. האם על כך תישמע מחאה? במקרה הטוב, יישמע גינוי מינורי כדי לצאת ידי חובה.

מכובדיי, אזרחי ישראל ונציגי המדינות שאיתנו, סופה של האשליה הזאת להתנפץ. הממשלות הדמוקרטיות טעו טעות גורלית לפני מלחמת העולם השנייה, ואנחנו משוכנעים, אני חייב להגיד שיחד עם רבים משכנינו, שהן טועות טעות מרה גם עכשיו. ייתכן שהשותפות הזאת עם לא מעט משכנינו, השותפות בזיהוי האיומים, תהווה בסיס גם לשותפות ביצירת עתיד טוב יותר, בטוח יותר ושליו יותר באזורנו. בינתיים לא נירתע. נוסיף להתעקש על האמת, ונעשה כל מה שביכולתנו לפקוח את העיניים הנעצמות.

אינני רוצה להשלות אף אחד, עוד נכונו לנו ימי מבחן. אנחנו בעיצומו של מאבק גדול. מול העייפות, מול הרפיון, מול הכחשת המציאות –נתייצב במלוא כוחנו. בצד אלה שמסרבים להבין את עמדתנו, ישנם רבים אחרים שמזדהים איתנו. אבל גם אם ניאלץ לעמוד לבד, לא יירא לבנו. בכל תרחיש, בכל מצב, נשמור על זכותנו, נשמור על יכולתנו, נשמור על נחישותנו להגן על עצמנו.

לפני שבעים שנה היינו אומה של פליטי חרב, חסרי כוח וחסרי אפשרות להשמיע את קולנו. היום אנחנו משמיעים את דברנו, ואנחנו נחושים להבטיח את קיומנו ועתידנו. תפקידנו להיאבק בשואפים להשמידנו, ולא להרכין ראש בפניהם וגם לא להקל במציאות. לא ניתן שמדינת ישראל תהיה אפיזודה חולפת בתולדות עמנו.

מכובדיי, פגשתי היום במשרדי ניצול שואה בן שמונים וחמש – אברהם נידרהופר. אברהם נולד ברומניה, בגיל 12 היה עד לרצח מזעזע של קרובי משפחתו בידי חייל רומני. הוא נלקח ברכבת משא של בהמות לאוקראינה, שם שרד את השואה. רק ב-1969, בשל סירובם העקשני של השלטונות הקומוניסטיים ברומניה להרשות את יציאתו – הוא הגיע ארצה. בישראל עסק אברהם כמהנדס ומפקח בבניית המדינה. הוא סיפר לי את סיפורו בהתרגשות עצומה, לעתים הוא היה צריך לעצור מרוב התרגשות, ובסוף הפגישה הפציר בי: “ראש הממשלה”, הוא אמר, “תפקידך למנוע שואה נוספת”. והשבתי לו: “כך בדיוק אני רואה את אחריותי, כך בדיוק אני רואה את תפקידי”.

לפני שבעה עשורים הגיחו הניצולים מן המחנות, מן היערות, מצעדות המוות– רק בגדים בלים לגופם, כולם פצע וחבורה. כשניצבו אסירי המחנות מכל האומות למסדר השחרור, הם נשאלו על ידי חיילי בעלות-הברית לאן כל אחד מהם רוצה לחזור. הפולנים חזרו לפולין; הרוסים שבו לרוסיה; ההונגרים – להונגריה; האוקראינים – לאוקראינה. אלא שלהמוני יהודים כלל לא היה לאן לחזור. הם עמדו חסרי אונים, כי לא הייתה להם מדינה משלהם.

היום יש לנו מדינה משלנו – מדינה פורחת ומתקדמת. מדינה שיונקת ממורשת אבות וניצבת בחזית הידע העולמי. מדינה שמפיצה אור גדול. מדינה שלוקחת את גורלה בידיה. שבעים שנה אחרי גיאיות המוות, אנו מקדשים את החי, התוסס, היוצר, הפורח.

ישראל פורצת דרך בכל חזיתות הקדמה – במדע, ברפואה, בטכנולוגיה, בחקלאות, בחינוך ובתרבות – ואנחנו עושים זאת לא רק למען עמנו, אנחנו עושים זאת למען כל יושבי תבל. על אלה ייכון קיומנו – על המחויבות לביטחון ועתיד ישראל, על הדבקות במורשתנו, ועל אחדות העם שמפעם בו כוח חיים אדיר. עם ישראל שיצא משאול תחתיות –יכול לכל אתגר.

“התנערי מעפר קומי, לבשי בגדי תפארתך, עמי”. עם הנצח התנער מעפר, שב הביתה, זקף קומתו, הקים מדינה לתפארת והקים צבא לתפארת, צבא ההגנה לישראל, בו משרתים בנינו ובנותינו האמיצים והגיבורים.

נזכור את הנספים, נבטיח את החיים.

Israel Brief April 28, 2014: Holocaust Martyrs’ and Heroes’ Remembrance Day Begins

ISRAEL BRIEF

ISRAEL BRIEF: ISRAEL NEWS

Holocaust Martyrs’ and Heroes’ Remembrance Day Begins

Source: Arutz Sheva, 4-28-14

In the official ceremony at Yad Vashem, six torches will be lit by six Holocaust survivors, followed by the reciting of the “Kel Maleh Rachamim” prayer, which is recited for the deceased, and the recitation of the Kaddish for the six million….READ MORE

Israel Brief April 27, 2014: Nation commemorates Holocaust with sirens, ceremonies

ISRAEL BRIEF

ISRAEL BRIEF: ISRAEL NEWS

Nation commemorates Holocaust with sirens, ceremonies

Source: Jerusalem Post, 4-27-14

Following the sirens, President Shimon Peres, Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu and other senior officials took part in a wreath-laying ceremony at Yad Vashem Holocaust Martyrs’ and Heroes’ Remembrance Authority’s Jerusalem museum….READ MORE

Full Text Israel Political Brief April 27, 2014: PM Benjamin Netanyahu Speech at Yad Vashem on Yom HaShoah, Holocaust Remembrance Day

ISRAEL POLITICAL BRIEF

ISRAEL POLITICAL BRIEF: ISRAEL NEWS

Address by PM Netanyahu at Yad Vashem

Source: PMO, 4-27-14

יום ראשון כ”ז ניסן תשע”ד

Photo by  GPO

The last time I visited Yad Vashem I accompanied the Prime Minister of Canada Stephen Harper, a great friend of Israel and the Jewish people. We went through the exhibition rooms which present heartbreaking documentation of the destruction of European Jewry.

Today in my office, I met Fela, an 82 year old Holocaust survivor. It was important for her to tell me on this day of her memories as a child of seven who was forced to leave her two year old sister. Those memories are always with her. She told me, “I don’t remember what happened yesterday or the day before that, but as is the way of memories at my age, I remember the sad, tearful eyes of my two year old sister whom I left behind to die”.

I met Shalom, an 89 year old Holocaust survivor who told me how, aged 13, he left home at Mila 18 in the Warsaw Ghetto. Conditions in the ghetto were deteriorating. So he, a young boy, decided to leave. He said, “Mother objected and wailed but Father was quiet. He stood up, put his hands on my head, blessed me and told me to save myself”.

All the exhibition rooms here are filled with such heart-wrenching stories.

When we left Yad Vashem, I told the Prime Minister of Canada that my supreme duty as the Prime Minister of Israel is to ensure that there will be no more memorial sites like this, that there will never be another Holocaust.

I have said here many times that we must identify an existential threat in time and take action against it in time.

Tonight, on the eve of Holocaust Remembrance Day, I ask: Why, in the years preceding the Holocaust, did the overwhelming majority of world leaders and Jewish leaders fail to detect the danger in time?

In retrospect, all the warning signs were there: the strengthening of the Nazi regime year after year; the horrific anti-Semitic propaganda which grew stronger with each passing month; and the murderous attacks on Jews which began as spurts and became a giant wave.

In retrospect, a direct line connects the racial laws and the gas chambers.

Few world leaders, notably Churchill, understood the enormity of the threat to humanity posed by Nazism. Few among our leaders, primarily Jabotinsky, warned against the imminent destruction facing our people. But they were widely criticized, their warnings disregarded and dismissed as the rantings of doomsayers and warmongers.

How is it possible that so many people failed to understand reality? The bitter, tragic truth is this: It is not that they did not see. They did not want to see.

And why did they choose not to see the truth? Because they did not want to face the consequences of that truth.

During the 1930s, when the Nazis were gaining momentum, the trauma of the First World War was still fresh. Twenty years earlier, the people of the West experienced a terrible trench war, which claimed the lives of 16 million people. The leaders of the West therefore operated on the basis of one axiom: Avoid another confrontation at any cost. Thus they laid the ground for the most horrible war in history.

This axiom of avoiding conflict at any cost was adopted not only by the leaders. It was shared by the peoples themselves, and primarily by the educated elites.

In 1933, for example, the year Hitler rose to power, a meeting was held by the students of Oxford University, an institution which produced generations of British leaders. Following a heated debate, the students voted for a resolution stating that they “would under no circumstances fight for their King and Country”.

This resolution passed by an overwhelming majority a mere ten days after Hitler entered the Chancellor’s office in Germany. The message reverberated in Berlin.

This example illustrates the West’s feeble response to the rise of Nazism.

Month after month, year after year, more and more information was received in London, Paris and Washington about Nazi capabilities and intentions. The picture gradually became clear for everyone to see.

But they had eyes and could not see, they had ears but could not hear.

When you refuse to accept reality as it is, you can deny it.

This is precisely what the leaders of the West did. They dismissed the murderous Nazi rhetoric as internal German politics; they downplayed the seriousness of the danger of the Nazi military build-up, claiming that it was the result of the natural will of a proud nation that should be recognized and accepted.

The reality was clear, but it was enveloped in a bubble of illusions. This bubble burst when the Nazis launched their blitzkrieg on Europe and Africa.

The price of illusion and wishful thinking was very steep. By the time the leaders of the West finally acted, their peoples paid a terrible price. World War II claimed the lives not of 16 million people, the horrific number of victims during World War I, but of 60 million, including one third of our people, who were butchered by the Nazi beast.

Citizens of Israel, my brothers and sisters,

Has the world learned the mistakes of the past?

Today we again face clear facts and a tangible threat. Iran calls for our destruction. It is developing nuclear weapons.

This is the reason it is building underground bunkers for enriching uranium. This is why it is constructing a heavy water facility to produce plutonium. This is the reason it continues to develop inter-continental ballistic missiles that can carry nuclear warheads which will threaten the entire world.

Today, like then, there are those who dismiss Iran’s extreme rhetoric as serving domestic purposes. Today, like then, there are those who view Iran’s nuclear ambitions as the result of the natural will of a proud nation, a will that should be accepted.

And today, like then, those who make such claims are deluding themselves. They are making an historic mistake.

Fateful talks are currently being held between Iran and the world powers. This time too, the truth is evident to all: Iran seeks an agreement that will lift the sanctions and leave it as a nuclear threshold state with the capability to manufacture nuclear weapons within several months at most.

Iran wants a deal that will eliminate the sanctions and leave its capabilities intact.

A deal which enables Iran to be a nuclear threshold state will bring the entire world to the threshold of an abyss.

I hope that the lessons of the past have been learned, and that the desire to avoid confrontation at any cost will not lead to a deal that will exact a much heavier price in the future.

I call on the leaders of the world powers to insist that Iran fully dismantle its capacity to manufacture nuclear weapons, and to persist until this goal is achieved.

In any event, the people of Israel stand strong. Faced with an existential threat, our situation today is entirely different than it was during the Holocaust.

Today, we have a sovereign Jewish state. As Prime Minister of Israel, I do not hesitate to speak the truth to the world, even when faced with blind eyes and deaf ears. It is not only my right, it is my duty. I am always mindful of this duty, never more so than on this day, in this place.

On the eve of the Holocaust, some Jews avoided speaking out to the world’s nations, fearing that the struggle against Nazism would become “a Jewish problem”. Others believed that if they kept silent, the danger would pass.

They kept silent, and disaster struck.

Today, we are unafraid to speak the truth to world leaders. As is written in the Bible: “I will speak of your testimonies before kings, and I will not be ashamed… listen, for I will speak the truth.”

Unlike the Holocaust, when the Jewish people were like a wind-tossed leaf and utterly defenseless, we now have great power to defend ourselves, and it is ready for any mission.

This power rests on the courage and ingenuity of the soldiers of the IDF and the men and women of our security forces. It is this power that enabled us, against all odds, to build the State of Israel.

Look at the remarkable achievements we have made in the 66 years of our independence. All of us – scientists, writers, teachers, doctors, entrepreneurs, employees, artists, farmers – the entire people of Israel, each one in their own field –  together we have built a glorious state. The spirit of the people of Israel is sublime, our accomplishments tremendous. Seven decades after the destruction of the Holocaust, the State of Israel is a wonder of the world.

On this day, on behalf of the Jewish people, I say to all those who sought to destroy us, and to all those who still seek to destroy us: You have failed, and you will fail again.

The State of Israel is stronger than ever. It is a state that seeks peace with all its neighbors and it pulsates with an iron will to ensure the future of our people.

“The people will arise like a lion cub and raise itself like a lion…and Judea will dwell securely”. (Numbers 23:24; Jeremiah 23:6).

 

 

Jewish Brief April 27, 2014: 10000 set out from Auschwitz to commemorate Holocaust victims in March of the Living

JEWISH BRIEF

JEWISH BRIEF: JEWISH NEWS

10000 set out from Auschwitz to commemorate Holocaust victims in March of the Living

Source: Jerusalem Post, 4-26-14

The International March of the Living is an annual educational program which brings students from all over the world to Poland to study the history of the Holocaust and the roots of prejudice, intolerance….READ MORE

Israel Musings November 10, 2013: World political and religious leaders mark the 75th anniversary of Kristallnacht

ISRAEL MUSINGS

ISRAEL MUSINGS: OP-EDS & ARTICLES

World political and religious leaders mark the 75th anniversary of Kristallnacht

By Bonnie K. Goodman

This Saturday evening, Nov. 9 overnight into Sunday, Nov 10, 2013 marks the 75th anniversary of Kristallnacht, the “night of broken glass” in 1938, which was the official start to the physical and systematic persecution of the Jews…READ MORE

Jewish Brief July 31, 2012: Romney Tours Site of Future Polish Jewish Museum

JEWISH BRIEF

JEWISH BRIEF: JEWISH NEWS

Romney tours site of future Polish Jewish museum

Source: JTA, 7-31-12

Mitt Romney toured the site of the future Museum of the History of Polish Jews in Warsaw….READ MORE

Jewish News Brief May 30, 2012: President Obama, White House ‘regrets’ reference to ‘Polish death camp’

ISRAEL POLITICAL BRIEF

ISRAEL POLITICAL BRIEF: ISRAEL NEWS

White House ‘regrets’ reference to ‘Polish death camp’

Source: JTA, 5-30-12

The White House expressed its regrets about President Obama’s use of the term “Polish death camp.”

In a statement Wednesday morning, Tommy Vietor, the spokesman for the U.S. National Security Council, said the president “misspoke” during his presentation of a posthumous Medal of Freedom a day earlier to Jan Karski, a Polish resistance fighter who was among the first to report German atrocities in his country.

“He was referring to Nazi death camps in Poland,” Vietor said. “We regret this misstatement, which should not detract from the clear intention to honor Mr. Karski and those brave citizens who stood on the side of human dignity in the face of tyranny.”

During the ceremony, Obama said of Karski, “Fluent in four languages, possessed of a photographic memory, Jan served as a courier for the Polish resistance during the darkest days of World War II. Before one trip across enemy lines, resistance fighters told him that Jews were being murdered on a massive scale, and smuggled him into the Warsaw Ghetto and a Polish death camp to see for himself. Jan took that information to President Franklin Roosevelt, giving one of the first accounts of the Holocaust and imploring to the world to take action.”

Poles insist on the term “Nazi death camps” to describe facilities such as Auschwitz and Sobibor….READ MORE

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