The lesson to be learned from the Holocaust and, particularly, the Allies’ indifference to the plight of Europe’s Jewish victims is that Israel can rely only on itself for survival, Netanyahu stated.
Israel marked the Holocaust Martyrs’ and Heroes’ Remembrance Day on Monday as sirens were heard across the country in memory of the six million Jewish victims of the Holocaust.
The official ceremony took place at the Yad Vashem Holocaust Museum in Jerusalem on Sunday night, during which six survivors lit torches in memory of the six million Jews murdered by the Nazis.
The Israeli flag was lowered to half-mast at the beginning of the ceremony as a military honor guard stood nearby. Psalms and Kaddish, the Jewish prayer for the dead, were recited at the podium.
In his address, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu decried the inaction of the Allies during the Holocaust and their failure to save the Jews.
He mentioned the archive of UN documents released last week, indicating that the Allies knew about the Nazi concentration and extermination camps as early as 1942.
“If the powers in 1942 had acted against the death camps… four million Jews and millions of other people could have been saved,” Netanyahu lamented. “While horrific crimes were being committed against the Jews, while our brothers and sisters were being sent to the furnaces, the powers knew and did not act.”
He stated three causes for the organized slaughter: widespread anti-Semitism, global indifference, and the weakness of the Jewish people in the Diaspora. The lesson is clear, he continued, stressing the importance of a strong State of Israel and its ability to defend itself.
“We have to be able to defend ourselves on our own against any threat against any enemy,” he declared. “From a helpless people, we have turned into a robust nation. From a defenseless nation, we have turned into a powerful country that can defend itself with one of the strongest armies.”
He said this lesson guides him “every morning and every evening.”
Israel has transformed itself into a strong nation with one of the “strongest defensive forces in the world,” Netanyahu added, warning that “those that seek to destroy us will put themselves in danger of destruction.”
The Israeli leader also condemned the “hypocrisy” of the United Nations (UN), which he said, transfers its “hatred of the Jews to hatred of the Jewish state.”