Knesset Speaker Yuli Edelstein at Platform 17 in Berlin.
(photo credit: KNESSET SPEAKER YULI EDELSTEIN'S OFFICE)
BERLIN – The world must not hesitate in the fight to protect its values, Knesset Speaker Yuli Edelstein said Tuesday at Berlin’s Platform 17.
Speaking at the site from which the Nazis sent more than 50,000 Jews to their death, Edelstein called for the Holocaust to “not be a precedent, rather a warning sign: Never, never again.”
The speaker and his German Counterpart, Bundestag President Prof. Norbert Lammert laid wreaths by the platform and addressed parliamentarians from both countries in the first public event of Edelstein’s three-day official visit.
“Millions of members of my nation, including a million and a half children, whose pure blood soaked the ground of Europe in the last century, would have trouble believing that one day, here, in Berlin, the speaker of the Israeli Parliament and the son of Holocaust survivors would hear their national anthem, Hatikva,” Edelstein said.
Hatikva talks about hope for a better future, independence and freedom, and Edelstein said that fight is not over yet.
“Today, we must not close our eyes to the dangers of destruction, racism, hatred and power-hunger, from the many evil forces raising their heads daily,” he stated. “We must oppose the apathy, the shrugging and burying of heads in the sand.”
Edelstein made references to Iran and Islamic State as forces that endanger world peace and must be fought.
“This is a war that crosses borders for our future and our sanity, a fight for the basis of our society. In this war, history has taught us there is no room for hesitation,” he said.
Edelstein warned that if the world is not determined enough, it may “wake up one morning and discover the rug was pulled out from under our feet.”
Lammert pointed out that Edelstein’s visit is on the anniversary of the death of the country’s first prime minister, David Ben-Gurion, who established ties between Israel and Germany. “He said it is our mutual responsibility to make sure atrocities like this do not happen again,” Lammert said. “Freedom must always triumph over tyranny.”
On Wednesday, the Knesset Speaker is expected to give a speech in the Bundestag, and on Thursday, he is scheduled to meet with German President Joachim Gauck and Chancellor Angela Merkel.
Edelstein was joined on his trip by MKs Nachman Shai (Zionist Union), chairman of the parliamentary friendship group with Germany; Tali Ploskov (Kulanu); Yoel Hasson (Zionist Union); and Hamad Amar (Yisrael Beytenu), as well as Knesset Secretary Yardena Maller-Horowitz and Or Akiva Mayor Yaakov Ederi, a former MK and minister who used to lead the parliamentary friendship group with Germany.