Lau to Obama: We need your friendship

In apparent reference to Iran Lau tells Obama Holocaust story in which US liberator of camps regrets being "too late."

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March 24, 2013 04:29
1 minute read.
Chief Rabbi of Tel Aviv Yisrael Meir Lau with President Shimon Peres

lau370. (photo credit: SAM SOKOL)

Tel Aviv Chief Rabbi and Holocaust survivor Yisrael Meir Lau called on US President Barack Obama not to be “too late” in acting on Israel’s behalf, in a plea seemingly related to America’s stance on military action against Iran.

Both Iran’s nuclear program and the ongoing Syrian civil war were topics for discussion during the president’s recent three-day visit. On Thursday, Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei threatened the destruction of Haifa and Tel Aviv should military action be taken against his country.

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Addressing Obama following his speech at Jerusalem’s Yad Vashem on Friday morning, Lau said that last year an American serviceman who had liberated the Buchenwald concentration camp, in which the future chief rabbi had been interned, begged him for forgiveness during a meeting in Seattle.

“He shook my hand and said, ‘Rabbi I was one of the liberators of Buchenwald,’” Lau recalled. He said that he had wanted to meet with the rabbi before he died and asked him for “forgiveness for being late.”

“We came too late,” Lau recalled the former soldier as saying.

Looking at the president, Lau reminded him that “yesterday...you promised us that we are not alone; don’t be too late; remember that we need your support [and] we need your friendship.”

Lau said that Israelis “appreciate your love [for] us” and that at the Passover Seder they will pray “for the peace of the the Middle East and the entire world.”



Speaking afterwards to The Jerusalem Post, Lau stated that he very much hoped “that this visit caused a revolution in all of the thinking and the entire conception of the United States, and of Obama personally, concerning the Israeli-Palestinian conflict; to know and to understand, as we always knew, that we have no other home, and they need to allow us to live in peace here.”


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