From sundown on Wednesday, April 11th to sundown on Thursday, April 12th, it is Israel’s Holocaust Remembrance Day and we at GOD TV commemorate this day, standing in solidarity with our Jewish friends worldwide. It is known in Hebrew as Yom HaShoah and also called Holocaust Martyrs’ and Heroes’ Remembrance Day.
How moving it was to watch the State Ceremony held at Yad Vashem this evening. Six massive torches were lit at the Holocaust memorial in Jerusalem, to remember the six million Jews who lost their lives. Each flame was ignited by a Holocaust Survivor telling their heart-rending story of unimaginable loss, yet filled with a deep hope.
“Standing against evil is a mission given to every generation. There is no generation that is exempt.”
The ceremony was attended by the President of Israel, Reuven Rivlin; Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu; dignitaries; survivors; children of survivors and their families; together with the general public. It included speeches, songs, and a rousing rendition of the Israeli national anthem, Hatikvah.
The theme this year is 70 Years of Remembering and Building: Holocaust Survivors and the State of Israel and here are five ways Israel’s friends around the world can participate;
Commemorate Israel’s Holocaust Remembrance Day
- Join the nation in observing two minutes of silent reflection on April 12th. In Israel this will happen at 10 am;
- Make a post on social media in support of Israel with the hashtag #YomHaShoah;
- Pray for the State of Israel and the Jewish People;
- Stand up to anti-Semitism in your personal sphere of influence; and
- Speak out against Holocaust denial, which is all too prevalent.
Depending on where you live, you can also take part in Holocaust Remembrance events. Poland hosts the March of the Living on Yom HaShoah each year, when some 12,000 participants, from all over the world, walk from Auschwitz to Birkenau. The Jerusalem March of the Living will be held on April 19th.
Netanyahu on Israel’s Holocaust Remembrance Day
Known as a brilliant orator, Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu spoke highly of the Holocaust Survivors as “heroes of great spirit, who came out of the darkness of annihilation to the light of new life in the State of Israel.” Indeed, each one is a living testament to what happened seven decades ago and must never be allowed to happen again.
He shared how everyone has a duty to combat things that are wrong. “Standing against evil is a mission given to every generation. There is no generation that is exempt. And woe be to the generation who doesn’t stand against it,” he said. This applies to ordinary people just as much as it does to our leaders and the Prime Minister Netanyahu proceeded to make an impassioned appeal for world leaders to act against tyranny before it’s too late.
He spoke of the way the allied leaders appeased the Nazi regime 80 years ago and signed a conciliatory agreement to prevent hostility, but how these concessions only brought the war closer. “Their unwillingness to stop the aggression at an early stage made humanity pay a much greater price – the deaths of 60 million people, including six million of our own people,”
This was his direct warning concerning Iran’s stated objective to destroy Israel and the reluctance of world’s powers to take these threats seriously. He stressed that the people of Iran are not Israel’s enemy and how he hopes for a day when Jews and Persians can peacefully co-exist alongside each other.
He also emphasised the importance of Israel being stringent in defending itself against aggression. “During the Holocaust we were helpless, we were defenceless, we didn’t have anything. If the truth is told, our voice was not heard. But, today we have a powerful country and army and our voice is heard among the nations.”
As you observe two minutes of silent reflection on April 12th consider the words of Hatikvah.
As long as in the heart within, a Jewish soul still yearns,
And onward, towards the ends of the east, an eye still gazes toward Zion;
Our hope is not yet lost, the hope two thousand years old,
To be a free nation in our land, the Land of Zion and Jerusalem.