Israel mourns the 6 million murdered

Holocaust Day ceremonies held at Yad Vashem, Knesset after country stands still for 2-minute siren.

Holocaust Day silence 248.88 (photo credit: Ariel Jerozolimski)
Holocaust Day silence 248.88
(photo credit: Ariel Jerozolimski)
Israel came to a standstill for two mournful minutes on Tuesday as air-raid sirens pierced the air in memory of the 6 million Jews murdered by the Nazis in the Holocaust. Cars came to a halt and people froze in their tracks, many with heads bowed, in memory of the victims. The siren was followed by an official wreath-laying ceremony at Yad Vashem as well as a Knesset ceremony during which lawmakers read out the names of family members who perished in the Holocaust. Meanwhile, in Tel Aviv, a malfunction caused the siren to last for an additional four minutes. In deference to the solemnity of the day, restaurants, bars and places of entertainment remained closed across the country. At 5.30 p.m., a youth movement memorial ceremony, attended by Education Minister Gideon Sa'ar, will be held at Yad Vashem. At the opening Holocaust Remembrance Day ceremony at Yad Vashem on Monday night, President Shimon Peres and Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu vowed that there would not be a second Holocaust, their pledges ringing in the shadow of Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad's vicious anti-Israel speech at the UN conference against racism in Geneva. In his speech, Peres said that the appearance at the conference of Ahmadinejad, who has denied the Holocaust and has repeatedly called for Israel's annihilation, was "a deplorable disgrace," and that Israel was the one state that would prevent another Holocaust. Netanyahu also mentioned the Geneva conference and criticized Swiss President Hans-Rudolf Merz, who met with Ahmadinejad on Sunday. "We will not let the Holocaust deniers perpetrate another holocaust on the Jewish people," he added. "This is the highest responsibility of the State of Israel and of myself as prime minister."