US President Barack Obama will address an event at the Israeli embassy marking International Holocaust Remembrance Day and join those present in remembering the victims of the Holocaust and honoring those who worked to save them.
US President Barack Obama will visit the Israeli embassy in Washington for the first time on Wednesday. This event is unique as presidents are not known to give speeches at foreign embassies in Washington and it has been quite a few years since a US president has visited Israel’s embassy.
He will address a ceremony marking International Holocaust Remembrance Day and honoring four men and women who saved Jews during World War Two.
The ceremony will posthumously recognize two Polish citizens, Walery and Marylta Zbijewski, and two Americans, Roddie Edmonds and Lois Gunden – as Righteous Among the Nations, persons who risked their lives to save Jews during the Holocaust.
“It is a great privilege to recognize, on behalf of the Jewish state, the heroism of those to whom the Jewish people owe the highest debt of gratitude,” Israel’s ambassador to the US, Ron Dermer, said in a statement. “I also deeply appreciate President Obama’s acceptance of our invitation to speak at this historic event. It will be a worthy tribute to the worthiest among us.”
A senior Israeli told Ha’aretz that this would be the first time an American president arrives at the Washington embassy since President Clinton signed the condolence book on the premises after Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin’s assassination. “But an act when an American president makes a speech at the Israeli embassy in Washington – that’s unprecedented,” the official said.