Memorial services and events throughout the country were due to continue Thursday to mark Holocaust Remembrance Day, which began on Wednesday evening. At 10:00 a.m. a two-minute siren was scheduled to be sounded to remember the six millions Jews murdered at the hands of Nazis during the Holocaust.
Following the sounding of the siren, various ceremonies and events were due to commence immediately.
A ceremony was set be held at Warsaw Ghetto Square at Yad Vashem Holocaust museum, which President Shimon Peres, Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu and Supreme Court President Asher Grunis were due to attend.
The Knesset prepared to hold a ceremony entitled "every person has a name," led by Peres and Netanyhau, in which the names of Holocaust victims will be read out.
On Thursday afternoon, youth from Israel and around the world were expected to participate in Poland's "March of the Living."
On Wednesday evening the prime minister said
that while it is the world’s duty to keep Iran from acquiring nuclear arms, it is first and
foremost Israel’s obligation.
Speaking at the state’s Holocaust Remembrance Day ceremony at Yad
Vashem, Netanyahu delivered a speech that dealt heavily with Iran. He said the
obligation Israel must take from the Holocaust is not only to remember the past,
“but to learn the lessons and more importantly to implement those lessons to
ensure the future of our people.”
He noted that this was especially true
in this generation, when there are those calling for the destruction of the
Jewish state, and when Iran is working toward obtaining the means of achieving
“The truth is that an Iran armed with nuclear weapons is an
existential threat to Israel’s existence,” Netanyahu said. “The truth is that a
nuclear Iran is an immediate threat to other nations in the region, and a grave
threat to the peace of the world. And the truth is that it is necessary to
prevent Iran from getting nuclear arms. That is the obligation of the world, but
first and foremost it is our obligation.”
Netanyahu’s comments came at
the ceremony whose theme this year – under the banner of “My Brother’s Keeper” –
was Jewish solidarity during the Holocaust.
Hundreds of survivors
attended, and six survivors who assisted other Jews during the Holocaust were
honored during a torch lighting ceremony.
“In one week we will raise the
flags of Israel’s independence which rose for the first time 64 years ago,” Peres told the crowd.
“Today, it is clear that the
reality we have built is the vision we once dreamed.”
“We used to be a
question mark; today we are a strong country,” he said. “Humanity has no choice but to learn from the lessons of the
Holocaust and stand strong in the face of existential threats, before it is too
late.”Herb Keinon and Melanie Lidman contributed to this report