Youth from all over the world celebrating Israeli independence at the Western Wall.
(photo credit: YOSSI ZELIGER)
President Reuven Rivlin on Thursday warmly welcomed some 6,000 young students from 40 countries across the world who took part in 30th March of the Living from Auschwitz to Birkenau last week.
Rivlin congratulated them for taking part in the march and continuing on to Israel to join the country’s 70th birthday celebrations.
“Unfortunately, our people are used to the tension that exists between pain and joy, between celebration and mourning. Only a short while ago, we marched together in the valley of death of the Auschwitz and Birkenau concentration camps, where millions of our Jewish brethren perished at the hands of the Nazi oppressor,” Rivlin told them. “Today, we celebrate the victory of the Jewish spirit for all those who sought to annihilate us, as the State of Israel is the ‘March of the Living’ of the Jewish people. Today, more than ever before, there is no doubt that this miracle called the State of Israel exists and thrives.”
On Remembrance Day for the Fallen of Israel’s Wars and Victims of Terrorism, the students participated in memorial ceremonies run by municipalities and visited military cemeteries together with bereaved Israeli families.
As part of the Independence Day celebrations, they gathered in Jerusalem’s Safra Square, danced to Israeli music and marched to the Western Wall for a mass communal prayer for the welfare of the State of Israel.
Their week-long educational program will conclude with a large-scale celebration at the IDF Armored Corps Memorial in Latrun.
According to Dr. Shmuel Rosenman, founder and co-chairman of the International March of the Living, their trip constitutes “the closure of an exciting and important circle.”
“The establishment of the State of Israel is a miracle, though it is not self-evident, and it is something that must be experienced to be believed and understood,” Rosenman said.
“Through these profoundly different marching experiences, and their interactions with Israel’s people and culture throughout the week, we believe that our March of the Living participants will develop a stronger kinship with the Land of Israel, solidarity with one another, and connect more meaningfully with humanity as a whole. Following this truly meaningful, multi-faceted program, they will be ready to act against the voices of racism and hatred that pervade their hometowns and college campuses.”
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