With International Holocaust Remembrance Day coming up on Thursday, Israel is doing even more to ensure that the world doesn’t forget the horrific mass murder—$9.2 million more. The additional funds (29 million NIS) approved on Sunday by the Israeli cabinet will go to Yad Vashem, the Israeli Holocaust memorial organization and museum. “While the entire world has an obligation to remember and deal with the significance of the Holocaust, a tragedy that is unparalleled in the annals of human history, the main obligation is cast on us, the Jewish people and the State of Israel,” said Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett on Sunday in comments published by his office.
Bennett also believes that the fight against Jew-hate isn’t limited to the past either, especially in the face of the anti-Israel boycott, divestment and sanctions movement (BDS). The Israeli leader said that they would approve “the directing of additional resources to the fight against BDS. Contemporary antisemitism comes in many guises. Today, this energy, of Jew-hatred, is frequently directed at the state of the Jews. Our obligation as the State of Israel is to expose it, even when it is disguised, and fight it.”
In a separate statement last week posted to Facebook, Bennett made it clear that the State of Israel is the Jewish people’s best defense against another attempted genocide. “The State of Israel is not ours ‘because of’ the Holocaust, but because the land of Israel was and is still the home of the Jewish people since forever,” said Bennett in the Hebrew post translated into English by Facebook. “Only a strong, safe, independent, vibrant, diverse, free and united State of Israel will ensure the existence of the Jewish people.”
While Bennett’s comments defending the memory of the Holocaust had a clear national-focus, Israeli Foreign Minister Yair Lapid added a very personal reason for never forgetting. “Remembering the Holocaust is our moral imperative as a nation. From my point-of-view, it is also a personal imperative as the son of a child from the Budapest ghetto,” said Lapid on Sunday in an Israeli press release on the new funds for Yad Vashem. “Our role as the government is to see to it that Holocaust research and the preservation of memory will continue among us.”
In the same press release, Social Equality Minister Merav Cohen highlighted the urgency in helping Yad Vashem preserve the past. “The goal of this first decision on the Cabinet table today is to—inter alia—provide for documenting the stories of the survivors’ heroism before they pass on. We do not have many years left and we need to take advantage of the time at our disposal for the survivors and for the coming generations.”
To that end, Yad Vashem is expanding their online presence this week in support of International Holocaust Memorial Day, including launching a new online exhibit: “Remember Your New Name: Surviving the Holocaust Under a False Identity”. A press release on the Yad Vashem website about the exhibition said for most it was “a daily battle for survival in a hostile environment, which required resourcefulness and the ability to adjust to constantly shifting circumstances.”
While the world’s circumstances continue to change, the hatred that drove the Holocaust sadly continues as well. Yad Vashem Chairman Dani Dayan said in the Yad Vashem press release. “Seventy-seven years later, the Holocaust still haunts us. Today, as the world continues to battle expressions of hatred, antisemitism and xenophobia, the significance and lessons of the Holocaust are particularly relevant.”
And it is that effort of those in the present to learn from and recall the past that is motivating the Jewish State to dedicate millions of dollars more to preserve the memory of the millions of Jews who died.
Said Lapid, “The government decision to provide a budget to Yad Vashem is part of the last will and testament of the six million and mainly a message to the survivors, to the families and to the entire world: The State of Israel will not forget and will do everything in its power to preserve the memory.”
(By Joshua Spurlock, www.themideastupdate.com, January 23, 2022)