Education Minister Yoav Kisch caused a stir on Twitter on Tuesday after posting a Holocaust Remembrance Day tweet that social media users claimed echoed Nazi rhetoric.
The tweet in question read “One nation! One flag! One country! We will remember and not forget.” Accompanying the text was a photo of himself together with Israeli students taking part in the March of the Living.
עם אחד!דגל אחד!מדינה אחת!נזכור ולא נשכח. pic.twitter.com/0nnMFspGPG— יואב קיש Yoav Kisch (@YoavKisch) April 18, 2023
Controversy surrounding the tweet
Kisch’s tweet, which saw higher engagement than his tweets usually do, was met with outrage from social media users, with many drawing comparisons between his words and the Nazi slogan, “One nation, one reich, one leader.”
Israeli Human Rights NGO Acri tweeted in response to his comments: “The education minister mutters the Nazi slogan on Holocaust Remembrance Day and then writes ‘I apologize if anyone was hurt.’
“Thanks to Yifat Mohar and the excellent partners from our education forum. They... will help deliver the apology to the teachers, principals and students, along with a reminder of why it is important to ensure regular attendance in history classes.”
שר החינוך מרפרר לסיסמא הנאצית ביום השואה ואז כותב "מתנצל אם מישהו נפגע".תודה ליפעת מוהר ולשותפות המעולות מפורום החינוך שלנו. הן ואנחנו נסייע להעביר את ההתנצלות למורים, למנהלות ולתלמידים, יחד עם תזכורת למה חשוב להקפיד על נוכחות קבועה בשיעורי ההיסטוריה. @IL_EduFront https://t.co/4Kfb2JUFVU pic.twitter.com/TOalCRLBRv— האגודה לזכויות האזרח (@acrionline) April 18, 2023
Kisch’s comments have also drawn wider criticism from those who believe that the minister has failed to acknowledge the existence of other populations and national identities in Israel other than the Jewish majority.
As of Wednesday, Kisch’s tweet remained online with over 1,070 likes, and over 200 retweets, many of them adding critical commentary to his words.
In 2016, Transportation Minister Miri Regev came under similar criticism after the Holocaust Remembrance Day ceremony in which the flag-bearers held aloft the inscription “One nation, one country.”
A historical education
Shortly after his original tweet, Kisch shared a follow-up video from the March of the Living with the caption: “In the Holocaust, only one people faced annihilation. The nation of Israel is alive and well!”
בשואה רק עם אחד עמד בפני השמדה.עם ישראל חי וקיים! pic.twitter.com/PxGt2mCMoK— יואב קיש Yoav Kisch (@YoavKisch) April 18, 2023
This tweet, too, was met with backlash, as Twitter users accused him of distorting history and erasing other groups persecuted by the Nazis from the narrative, with many mentioning the European Roma, who were targeted by the Nazis for being “racially inferior.”
“You are wrong, close to 800,000 [Roma] were also murdered, hundreds of thousands of disabled people with Aryan blood and more,” one person replied. “Go and take a course on genocide. The Holocaust is not an exclusive brand for the Jews.”