(photo credit: AP [file])
Israel's political leadership gathered on Tuesday for the 20th annual "Every Person Has a Name" ceremony, in which MKs read out names of family members killed in the Holocaust.
Knesset Speaker Reuven Rivlin opened the late-morning ceremony. Among others, President Shimon Peres, Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu and opposition leader Tzipi Livni read out names of family members murdered in Europe. Jerusalem Mayor Nir Barkat and Yad Vashem chairman Avner Shalev were also among the participants.
The ceremony was held, as every year, in parallel with a similar ceremony for the public at Yad Vashem.
"In memory of my family members who were massacred together with 2,060 members of their community in the town of Vishnayva in August 1942 by the Nazis and their local helpers, who concentrated the ghetto's residents in the wooden synagogue and then brutally killed them by shooting and burning them," said Peres, and then read the names of his grandparents, uncles and cousins who were murdered.
This year, the participants acknowledged the contribution of Dov Shilansky, the 12th Knesset speaker and the force behind the annual ceremony's initiation.
Later in the day, Netanyahu had a private meeting with Leah Nevnetzel, a poet and Holocaust survivor whom he met during the Knesset ceremony when she read her poem "Script." Netanyahu said that he had been particularly moved by the poem, and invited her to be his guest at the Prime Minister's Office, where she told him of her experience during the war.
Both of Nevnetzel's parents were murdered, and she was adopted by a childless Polish couple. After the war, she was found by a surviving aunt, who helped her leave Poland and move to Israel.
The Knesset was not the only government body to hold commemorations Tuesday. In a ceremony at the Foreign Ministry, Deputy Foreign Minister Danny Ayalon said that "it is important to remember that all of the representatives of the ministry across the world are representatives of the six million who, with their death, called the state into being."