This week in Israel, we recited these words, “NEVER AGAIN, WE WILL NEVER FORGET!”
As I approached Yad Vashem for the State’s opening ceremony of the Holocaust Martyr's and Heroes' Remembrance Day, I kept saying to my self, “You must try being professional and not crying during the ceremony,” but I knew it would be easier said than done.
For the first time since I moved to Israel, I received an official invitation to this event. Each year before, I would watch this event on TV. However, today I was privileged to stand united with Israel’s President, the Prime Minister, Holocaust survivors and their family members, and hundreds of Jews.
I really felt solidarity with every Jewish person on earth today, as I thought of the persecution and suffering they have endured from their time of bondage in Egypt to this present day.
As I entered Yad Vashem, I was questioned for a long time by a young female security guard. I presented my business card to her and explained why I am in Israel, why it’s important for me to share the truth about Israel to the world, and why I love this nation.
She gave me a very intense look of scrutiny as twice she asked me, “But why do you do this, because you love Israel?!” My heart overflows with passion when I am asked this question, because of my knowledge about the Jewish people suffering constant subjection to false blame and hatred from the world.
This issue alone is part of the reason why there was a Holocaust, and now, here I am in the year 5776/2016 with a beautiful young Jewish woman who does not understand why someone loves her and her people.
Her intense questioning touched me deeply, so I shared my heart with her while she questioned me further. Finally, she heard enough from me, and then I was allowed to enter.
I thanked her and said this, “Because of people like you and the IDF, Shin Bet and the Mossad, I feel completely safe in this amazing nation.
Thank you for doing such a great job, it gives me confidence in encouraging people from all over the world to visit here, because it’s 100% safe.”
She gave me a BIG smile, since now she knew there are people in the world who absolutely love the Jewish people. I was obviously the first person she ever met who reached out to her individually.
After this, I found a seat in the audience, since I decided not to stand on the journalist podium to make videos or take photos. I wanted to sit among the people to be a part of what they would experience today, and not be a reporter at a distance from their hearts.
My heart was already beating fast with emotion even before the ceremony started. Then, my attention was drawn to the sky as the sun was setting; the sky turned bright orange and looked like dancing flames to me.
I thought, “This is just like the flames from the crematoriums in the death camps!” as I stood there for a while and thinking further, “What a setting You are making for us this evening!,” as looked up to Him above.
For the Holocaust survivors, I thought, “The smell of burned flesh from your fellow Jews spewing from the crematoriums will stay with you for the rest of your life. It's not something that will ever be erased.”
But this evening of May 5 2016, it’s the smell of freedom these Holocaust survivors can drink in deeply, living what must have once been a distant dream about their God-given land, a Jewish Homeland that rose out of the ashes of the flaming pit of hell we call the Holocaust.
I saw before me the fulfillment of Jeremiah’s prophecy (chapter 37) about the dry bones coming to life, and these Jews who were brought home to their homeland that has existed for more than 3,000 years.
As the ceremony started with the Israeli flag being lowered to half-mast, and the memorial torch lit by Rabbi Israel Meir Lau, I felt my tears welling up in my eyes.
Then, when Benjamin Netanyahu spoke, it literately felt to me like time stood still as his strong voice pierced the air.
His speech captured exactly why the Holocaust took place and why the exact same hatred is still very much alive today, an opposing force against the Jewish people.
I quote from his speech, this statement: “The Nazi regime in Germany was defeated 71 years ago, yet anti-Semitism and the lies did not die along with Hitler in his bunker.
Because today, millions of people in the Muslim world read and hear horrendous fabrications about the Jewish people. They are told that Jews are the offspring of apes and pigs. They are told that Jews – and I quote – ‘drink the blood of their enemies in goblets.’
These and other lies are spreading in social media, through means of dissemination that Hitler and Goebbels could not have even imagined.
Nazi propaganda portrayed the Jews as the source of all evil in the world, poisoners of wells, parasites, the enemies of humanity. The defamation preceded their extermination.”
While Benjamin Netanyahu was speaking, I watched all the young soldiers who are our “Watchmen on the walls.”
They are tasked with the heavy responsibility of making sure “NEVER AGAIN!” remains a reality for the Jewish people. I have the highest respect for the IDF; they are the world’s best army!
Six Holocaust survivors then lit 6 flames, each flame symbolized one million fellow Jews. As each flame was lit, we watched videos of each of them telling their stories about what they endured.
I had people crying all around me, because these stories are so gruesome that it defies anything the human mind can possibly understand.
I honestly felt like I was drowning and I could not breathe, I have to admit that I had to look away a couple of times because the reality of what they faced was just beyond any comprehension!
Following this, there was a reading from the Psalms, the recital of a Kaddish and the El Mahleh Rahamim.
Although I am not Jewish, I still felt a deep and profound connection to this Nation and her people because of my faith in the living God of Israel. I simply have the highest respect for the Jewish people!
They are ONE BIG FAMILY who must constantly defend their right to exist to the whole world, along with relentless blame for everything, and accusations that they can never do anything right.
They endure the false accusation of somehow “occupying” their own land; Jerusalem is not entitled to be called their capital, and constant UN condemnation for simply building homes for her people! They suffer the indignity of desecration of their holy places after territory is stripped away, as if such places are not part of Jewish history.
Since Hitler’s rise to power, Israel’s greatest threat is the entire Muslim world coming against them with one goal: the murder of every Jew and destruction of their state.
They watch in horror as Muslims celebrate terror attacks and martyrdom while they mourn for their fellow Jews; they face economic uncertainty as their products from Judea and Samaria are boycotted by anti-Semitic groups from what is a world-wide movement.
They are accused at the UN and the International Criminal Court of “war crimes” that arise from defending Israel’s people from terror attacks brought on by bombs, rockets, knives, guns, rocks and vehicles used for ramming into people, as just a few examples.
The Holocaust took place because far too few people stood up or acted against the hate and evil of the Nazis. Prejudice fueled persecution against the Jewish people throughout many centuries in Europe, this same evil lives and fights against the Jews today.
The world was given a second chance to do the right thing; you and I have a responsibility to stand with the Jewish people. We all play a part in this, don’t look around and expect other people to do your part. Stand up as a human being and be a strong moral agent in doing what you know in your heart is right.
While Holocaust survivors breathe in freedom’s air of their homeland, they are facing Holocaust deniers who also deny the legitimacy of Israel’s right to exist, along with the entire Muslim world wanting to eradicate the Jewish people from the earth.
It's popular to “kill the Jews wherever you find them,” because your family will be generously rewarded with money, you will be glorified for becoming a martyr, and you might be lucky to have a street or park named after you.
The root of all this hatred and prejudice comes from parents in their homes and teachers in schools, plus 50 thousand kids are going to the terrorist Hamas-sponsored “summer camps” to learn how to fight and kill the Jewish “apes and pigs.”
What the Jews are facing today is just pure evil, and for the world to be silent while so many actually play a part in this evil through the BDS lies, propaganda and boycott movements, it is simply nothing but pure anti-Semitic hatred.
I have never met anyone celebrating life the way the Jewish people do, I have never met anyone that overcome adversity like the Jewish people do, nor have I ever met anyone that is more kind to others, whether they are strangers or even their enemies!
Do you know that Israel has been treating family members of Ismail Haniyeh and Abu Mazen is their hospitals, who are two despicable Hamas and Fatah terrorists with lots of Jewish blood on their hands? Israel is always merciful, even to her sworn enemies!
Along with this, when the Jewish people see a need, they help; such as sending rescue teams around the world to assist when disasters strikes, or give relief aid to other countries in their time of need.
You can beat them, you can kill them in their own homes and on the streets, but they will always get up and stand proud. They will always help others, this compassion has also given birth to many amazing inventions they created. The entire world benefits from them, and none can manage without them.
As Holocaust survivors continue breathing in the air of freedom during the year of 5776/2016, the Jewish nation is stronger than ever, their light is shining brighter than ever, and their faith and love is stronger than ever.
I can say this from the bottom of my heart: There is no place like Israel, the one nation the entire world thinks they can tell Israel what to do. Israel is the front gateway to the whole world, what happens here will affect the rest of the world.
As the ceremony came to a close with everyone standing and singing “Hatikva” (The hope), I felt a chill down my spine as I thought about what could be in store for this nation. But I believe with all of my heart that, "He Who watches over Israel neither slumber nor sleeps.”
I will continue to encourage people all over the world to come visit Israel, so they will see first-hand just how extraordinary, warm, loving and wonderful the Jewish people really are.
Please wake up, get up and get active in sharing the truth about Israel’s glorious legacy and stand united with Israel. I thank you Israel for being such an amazing blessing to the world.
It was an honor to stand united with you at Yad Vashem “for such a times as this”…