PM slams world silence on Iran

Netanyahu warns Iran’s genocidal intentions reminiscent of holocaust.

April 12, 2010 00:03
3 minute read.
Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu

Netanyahu Vicar 311. (photo credit: Ariel Jerozolimski)


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Marking the start of Holocaust Martyrs and Heroes Remembrance Day before a crowd of hundreds that gathered in the Warsaw Ghetto Square at Yad Vashem on Sunday night, Prime Minister Benyamin Netanyahu chided the international community for its relative silence in the face of Iranian threats to destroy the Jewish State and the Islamic regime's ongoing race towards nuclear weapons.

"We are witness today to the new, old fire of hatred," Netanyahu said from the podium. "Hatred of Jews inflamed by organizations and regimes of Islamic extremists – most of all Iran and its satellites."

"Iran's leaders are rushing to develop nuclear weapons as they freely announce their desire to destroy Israel," he continued. "But in the face of these calls to erase the Jewish State from the face of the earth time and time again, we see at best mild protests, and these too seem to be fading."

"We don't hear the forceful protests that are required, we don't hear strong denouncement, or the angry voice," he added. "But as usual, there are those who direct their criticisms against us, against Israel."

"The world accepts Iran's declarations of annihilation yet we still do not see the international determination required to prevent Iran from arming. I call on the enlightened nations to rise up and denounce this intention to destroy, and to act with real determination to prevent Iran from obtaining nuclear weapons."

Speaking before the prime minister, President Shimon Peres also addressed the Iranian threat, stressing that the world could not display the apathy that had cost so many lives in the past.

"It is our right and duty to demand of the nations of the world not to repeat their indifference, which has cost millions of human lives, including theirs. The United Nations must be attentive to the threats of annihilation coming from one of its members, against another member state," Peres said.

Peres added that the fire in which Jewish books were burned during the Holocaust would continue to burn "in our hearts, as an impossible separation from the six million of our brothers, men, women, elderly. From a million and a half of our children – an incredible potential for life, for ability, [that was] annihilated – a loss never to return."

The ceremony began Sunday evening at 8 pm and was broadcast live on Israeli television. The central theme for this year’s Holocaust Martyrs and Heroes Remembrance Day is "the Voice of the Survivors" – those who, according to a press release from Yad Vashem, “honor the victims and strive to safeguard their memory.”

Chief Rabbi Yisrael Meir Lau, himself a Holocaust survivor, lit the Memorial Torch at the beginning of Sunday's ceremony. Hana Weiss also spoke on behalf of the survivors.

After six survivors – Eliezer Ayalon, Leo Luster, Sara Israeli, Hannah Gofrit, Baruch Shub and Jakob Zim – each lit a torch, a traditional memorial service for the victims of the Holocaust took place.

Chief Ashkenazi Rabbi Yonah Metzger recited Psalms, Chief Sefardi Rabbi Shlomo Amar recited Kaddish and Cantor Asher Hainowitz recited El Ma'aleh Rahamim, a prayer for the souls of martyrs.

Other Participants in the ceremony included musician Gali Atari and the Ankor Choir under the direction of Dafna Ben Yohanan, as well as the IDF Paratroopers’ Honor Guard. Actor Lior Ashkenazi also recited a narrative piece.

During the weekly Cabinet meeting earlier on Sunday, Netanyahu announced that the Cabinet had decided to allocate NIS 50 million in subsidies for medicines for Holocaust survivors.

"Approximately 80,000 survivors of the camps and ghettos will receive discounts of up to 90% on medicines," Netanyahu said.

The Cabinet also approved significant discounts in electricity payments for Holocaust survivors and disabled World War II veterans who are recognized as needy by local authorities.

"These decisions join others that have been made in recent years and are designed to assist survivors," Netanyahu added. "The fact that we are making these two decisions today, at the beginning of the Government's second year in office, attests to our abiding commitment, as well as that of the entire country, to the survivors."

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