Chief Rabbi of Tel Aviv Yisrael Meir Lau on Thursday decried the atrocity of Syria’s chemical attack on civilians as “a holocaust of the Syrian people.”
The former chief Ashkenazi rabbi of Israel told Army Radio, as more reports regarding the use of chemical warfare in Syria emerged, that “Not from today, for six years a holocaust has fallen on them; we talk a lot about intervening or not intervening.”
He added that, while he understands that there are “very serious considerations” about possible intervention, he strongly opposes those who think Israel should refrain from taking action.
Lau is himself a survivor of the Buchenwald Nazi concentration camp. Evoking the memory of the Holocaust, he said the Jewish people has an obligation to stand by the Syrian people.
“All we learn from history is that we didn’t learn anything. Even if we do not intervene, we must raise sounds of alarm – if not us then who?” he asked.
Joining the rabbi’s call for action was Yad Vashem chairman Avner Shalev, who urged world leaders to put an end to the atrocities in Syria and avert further suffering.
Shalev stressed that “following World War II, the global community enacted universal principles and instituted international organizations with the express purpose of averting future crimes against humanity.” In 1948, from the ashes of the Second World War, the United Nations General Assembly adopted the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.
Shalev expressed “deep concern over the appalling evidence of renewed carnage in Syria and the images of massacred children in this turbulent area.”
Two days after a suspected gas attack in Idlib province killed at least 70 people and wounded scores of others, allegations of a second chemical attack carried out by the Syrian Army near Hama surfaced in Arab media, based on the reports of witnesses on the ground.