Holocaust Remembrance Day began on Monday evening with a series of ceremonies across the country, with the official state ceremony beginning at 8 p.m. at Yad Vashem in Jerusalem.
The Yad Vashem ceremony was streamed ive on YouTube with an English translation.
Six memorial torches commemorating the six million Jews murdered in the Holocaust were lit at the start of the Yad Vashem ceremony by six of the about 147,000 remaining Holocaust survivors living in Israel.
This year, the central theme of Holocaust Remembrance Day will be the Jewish resistance during the Holocaust and the 80th anniversary of the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising.
For the first time, Yad Vashem, in cooperation with the Our 6 Million (Shem Vener) organization, will hold a memorial candle-lighting ceremony in the Hall of Remembrance at the site. The audience participating in the main ceremony will be invited starting at 5:30 p.m. to light a memorial candle bearing the name of a Holocaust victim before entering the ceremony.
On Tuesday, the general public is also invited to light memorial candles bearing the names of those who perished in the Holocaust at Yad Vashem in Jerusalem at the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising Square between the hours of 11:00 a.m.-4:30 p.m.
The public is also invited to visit the new Book of Names exhibit at the site - a huge book that presents the names of the 4.8 million victims of the Holocaust that Yad Vashem has collected from its founding to the present day. Yad Vashem is in a race against time to collect items and document the testimonies of as many surviving Holocaust survivors as possible and invites the public to coordinate such documentation by phone at 02-6443888 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
At the same time as the main rally in the presence of President Isaac Herzog and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, many memorial rallies were held on Monday evening, the first of which was that of the Massuah Institute in Tel Yitzhak, which focused on the importance of passing on memories to future generations, in the presence of Defense Minister Yoav Gallant and the commander of the Air Force, in which six Holocaust survivors also lit memorial torches.
Simultaneously, the annual ceremony was held at the "Testimony House" Museum for Holocaust Remembrance in Nir Galim, which this year focused on the story of Greek Jewry during the Holocaust, marking the 80th anniversary of the destruction of the large Jewish community in Thessaloniki.
148,763 Holocaust survivors living in Israel
An up-to-date assessment of the situation of the Holocaust survivors living in Israel can be found in the data of the National Insurance Institute (Bituach Leumi). 148,763 Holocaust survivors live in Israel and are entitled to pensions, as of last month, of which 65% receive a nursing subsidy. Out of all those entitled to nursing care, 22,967 (24%) receive nursing at the most serious level.
Moreover, almost a third of the Holocaust survivors in Israel (31%) are entitled to supplement their income with a veteran's pension to guarantee them a minimum income for subsistence. This includes 46,450 Holocaust survivors, of whom 69% are widowed, living alone or unmarried, and only 31% still live with their spouses. 61% of the survivors are women and 39% men.
Yarona Shalom, director-general of the National Insurance Institute, called on the public to "be sensitive if there is a Holocaust survivor who needs relief in alleviating loneliness, and, if necessary, contact the National Insurance Institute. If you know a single Holocaust survivor who does not receive an allowance or whose nursing condition has worsened, contact the National Insurance Institute's counseling for the senior citizen and their family at *9696 or at 02-6709857. The line operates from Sunday to Thursday between the hours of 9 a.m.-1:30 p.m."
A recent survey by the Foundation for the Welfare of Holocaust Victims revealed that 22% of the supported survivors had to give up products and services they needed, including clothing, medical tests, absorbent products, electrical appliances, home maintenance and other services. Starting next month, the International Fellowship of Christians and Jews, as part of its ongoing support for the Foundation for the Welfare of Holocaust Victims, will donate approximately $100,000 to subsidize the electricity bills of approximately 300 Holocaust survivors.
Events on the Eve of Holocaust Remembrance Day:
8 p.m. - Ceremonies at Yad Vashem and across the country
Events on Holocaust Remembrance Day:
10 a.m. - Siren marking two minutes of silence sounds and wreaths are placed at Yad Vashem
11 a.m. - The "Unto Every Person There is A Name" ceremony, in which the names of Holocaust victims are read at Yad Vashem, the Knesset and throughout the country
11 a.m.-4:30 p.m. - Memorial candle lighting at the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising Square at Yad Vashem by the general public, in cooperation with the Our 6 Million organization
1 p.m. - The state memorial ceremony at the Hall of Remembrance at Yad Vashem
1:15 p.m. - Guided tours for the general public at Holocaust Museum at Yad Vashem
5:30 p.m. - The youth movement ceremony at the Valley of the Communities at Yad Vashem
6:45 p.m. - A ceremony by the Next Generations organization at the Palmach Museum in Tel Aviv and the closing ceremonies at the Ghetto Fighters' House and in Yad Mordechai
10,000 people to take part in 35th March of the Living
At 2 p.m. the 35th March of the Living will start in Poland, where 10,000 people will march from Auschwitz to Birkenau in delegations from more than 25 countries.
The parade will be led this year by 42 Holocaust survivors from Israel and around the world, Education Minister Yoav Kish, Jewish Agency chairman Doron Almog, third generation descendants of Holocaust survivors Iris and Chaim Taib, Chairwoman of the KKL Yifat Ovadia-Lusky, Jewish-American businessman Robert Kraft, US Ambassador to Israel Tom Nides, former US Ambassador to Israel David Friedman and tens of thousands of Jewish and non-Jewish youth from around the world.
The Holocaust Remembrance Day events will close at 8 p.m. with a rally at the Ghetto Fighters kibbutz titled "Warsaw Ghetto Uprising - School of the Human Spirit", to mark the 80th anniversary of the Uprising in the presence of Supreme Court President Esther Hayut and commander of the IDF Northern Command Maj.-Gen. Uri Gordin.
'Israeli Living Room' events to bring citizens together during national holidays
On the occasion of the ten days of gratitude, which are marked from the eve of Holocaust Day until Independence Day, the SonShine organization, founded by Bat-Galim and Ophir Shaer, holds the "Israeli Living Room" events, during which hundreds of families across the country open their homes to shared circles of discussion with citizens and neighbors of different backgrounds and cultures.
Another major project that will be held as part of the Israeli Living Room events is "Raising a Flag of Dialogue" by the educational network that integrates "Meitarim", which will simultaneously set up large dialogue tents in dozens of cities and towns throughout the country. The events are being held with the participation of dozens of other bodies and organizations from across the social and political spectrum, including "Zehut," "Etgar," "Kay College of Education," "We are All Brothers" and "Mahut Israel," among others.