Living here, being here when the Yom Ha'Shoah siren blasts and is heard across Israel, it's an honor, a blessing and a privilege...we join the vast majority of Israelis, on the 'Right', on the 'Left', in the 'Center', religious and non-religious, rich and poor, young and old, Sabras (Israelis born here) and Israelis born chutz l'Aretz (outside Israel), we stop what we are doing, stop working, stop playing, stop driving, we honor the memory of the millions who were murdered, who were gassed, starved, tortured, shot, who saw their children die in front of their eyes, who saw their parents, brothers, sisters, grandparents murdered seconds before they themselves were murdered, we stop our lives and think of their lives....we honor their memories, we shall always honor their memories, we shall never forget them...NEVER!

Today, I heard my third Yom Ha'Shoah (Holocaust Memorial Day) siren since making Aliyah in August 2012 but, for some reason, I think this was the most emotional. I was in an office, I stood looking out of the 6th floor window, everyone stopped, people got out of their cars, Am Yisrael came together as achim, as brothers (and sisters!)...I cried...when the siren stopped, I turned round and, walking away from the window, I saw a middle-aged lady hugging, consoling an elderly lady, I assume daughter and mother...what that elderly lady has witnessed and been through in her life is, I sensed, unimaginable and horrific. I couldn't help myself, I went up to her and hugged her, I was drawn to her, I felt like we are family and, of course, we are! We also, today, of course, turn our thoughts to the survivors of the camps, of the horrors they witnessed and lived through in the 1930's and 40's. We all have heavy hearts today but the heaviest hearts belong to the survivors.

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I'm sure that the pain and heartache is persistent but that today, when they put everything else out of their minds and it's just them and their lost loved ones, the pain must be unbearable. Today is not a day for politics so let's just say that, for the survivors of the Shoah, dare I say particularly for the survivors who came straight home from hell, those who came here between the first half of the 1930's and the late 1940's, Israel is a sanctuary and these survivors deserve extra attention, care and love from our Prime Minister and the Government of the day.

These survivors are our VIPs and they should be treated as such. They should all have an 'acceptable' standard of living, they should never be hungry because of a lack of money, they should never be cold, too poor to pay for heating. The victims of the Shoah are, of course, those who perished and we must never forget them but the survivors are also victims and neither should they be forgotten.
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