Declaring as one, ‘Am Yisrael Chai’

Israel’s Ambassador to the UN Ron Prosor recounts his past experience on the March of the Living.

April 16, 2015 17:17
2 minute read.
Ron Prosor

Ron Prosor addresses the United Nations General Assembly in January during a meeting about the rise of anti-Semitism. (photo credit: REUTERS)

I vividly recall the bleak and overcast day in 2011 when I marched from Auschwitz to Birkenau as part of the March of the Living. Together with 10,000 people from around the world and walking shoulder-to-shoulder with former Chief Rabbi Yisrael Meir Lau, we, the March of the Living, walked for the six million Jews who were marched to their deaths.

With Israeli flags on our backs, we followed the same path on which the blood of millions of Jewish innocents had been spilled. We marched in solemn memory of those who were murdered, in defiance of the perpetrators and as living testament to the survival of the Jewish People. United and with clear voices we proudly proclaimed: “Am Yisrael Chai!” – the People of Israel live.

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As I marched, I thought of my grandmother Elfrida who was born in Germany and endured the harassment and hardships that Jews in Europe faced at the time. I thought of my father Uri who escaped Nazi Germany as a young boy. And I thought of my three children who grew up in a Jewish state, removed from the horrors of the Nazis, but all too familiar with a different sort of hatred.

Seventy years after the end of the Shoah, violent anti-Semitism is once again part of daily life. We live in a world where Jews are attacked as they pray in a synagogue, where Jews are gunned down as they shop in a kosher grocery store and where religious leaders spout anti-Semitism and incite violence.

The days when Jews were the world’s victims are over. We will never again be helpless because today the State of Israel stands guard. From the ashes of the Holocaust and the depths of despair, the Jewish People returned to their ancient homeland, regained independence, made the desert bloom and built a strong and vibrant society.

I couldn’t be prouder to represent the State of Israel in the United Nations. But I know that the hands of time threaten to cloud the world’s memory. The March of the Living is the torch of remembrance that we pass to future generations.

It is the means by which we recall the past and safeguard our future. From the hills of Jerusalem to the halls of the United Nations, we must raise our voices together and declare as one – Am Yisrael Chai!

Ron Prosor
Israel Ambassador to the United Nations
New York

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