A Druze artist who has devoted the lion’s share of her work to depicting scenes of the Holocaust joined the 12,000 participants in this year’s March of the Living.
Buteina Halabei, 38, lives in the northern Israeli town of Daliyat al-Karmel with her husband Tamir, a teacher, and their three children. The artist was invited to join the March by Dr. Shmuel Rosenman, chairman of the event, and his deputy and general director Aharon Tamir, to thank her for her work in this area.
Both she and her husband offer classes on the Holocaust in the Druze community, and give lectures at local schools. A professional artist, she has devoted most of her career to painting scenes of the Holocaust – but the works are not for sale.
Halabei explained in a past interview that the pieces are expressions of her “thoughts and feelings, and one doesn’t sell one’s thoughts and feelings.”
It’s not an uncommon decision among artists; Brooklyn-based Syrian Jewish artist Robin Antar, a sculptor whose ancestors hailed from Aleppo and settled in the United States three generations ago, also hoards a number of special pieces that she absolutely will not sell. Antar was recently in Israel searching for stone to use in new works, and to retrace the steps of her son, who passed away a few months ago.
“Art from the soul cannot be sold,” explains Antar. ” One cannot sell one’s soul.” She would know. Antar is about to begin working on a knot that transforms into a memorial flame reaching to the heavens, symbolizing the tortured soul of the son who passed away.
“In many ways he was tortured in ways not unlike some of those in the concentration camps,” Antar told The Jewish Press in a telephone interview. The horrified mother discovered years ago that her helpless toddler had been repeatedly abused and forced to witness acts of sexual abuse and torture of other children by an adult pedophile in his Brooklyn daycare. His perpetrator ultimately managed to escape justice despite strenuous efforts by the Syrian community and his parents to force the legal system to hold him responsible for his crimes. An Orthodox Jewish rabbinical court (Beis Din) did, in fact, rule in favor of the parents and validate their accusations but the civil justice system refused to recognize the document.
On Sunday evening, April 27, 2014, six Holocaust survivors lit six torches representing the six million Jewish victims of the Nazi genocide during the opening ceremony at the Yad Vashem Holocaust Memorial Museum in Jerusalem.
Holocaust survivor Asher Oud (R) lights a torch with his grandson during a ceremony at the Yad Vashem Holocaust Memorial Museum in Jerusalem, as Israel marks the annual Holocaust Remembrance Day on April 27, 2014. Photo by Yonatan Sindel/Flash90
Holocaust survivor Zvi Michaeli lights a torch with his grandson during a ceremony at the Yad Vashem Holocaust Memorial Museum in Jerusalem, as Israel marks the annual Holocaust Remembrance Day on April 27, 2014. Photo by Yonatan Sindel/Flash90
Holocaust survivor Dita Kraus lights a torch during a ceremony at the Yad Vashem Holocaust Memorial Museum in Jerusalem, as Israel marks the annual Holocaust Remembrance Day on April 27, 2014. Photo by Yonatan Sindel/Flash90
Israeli soldiers stand below a monument as they attend a ceremony at the Yad Vashem Holocaust Memorial Museum in Jerusalem, as Israel marks the annual Holocaust Remembrance Day. April 27, 2014. Photo by Yonatan Sindel/Flash90
Jewish Youth from all over the world participating in the March of the Living seen at the Auschwitz-Birkenau camp site in Poland, on the eve of the Israeli Holocaust Memorial Day, on April 27, 2014. Photo by Yossi Zeliger/Flash 90.
Yesterday was Holocaust Memorial Day in Israel. Here we are almost seventy years since the Nazis were militarily defeated by the “allied forces,” there are hardly any more survivors still alive and Holocaust memorials are bigger than ever in Israel.
Israelis commemorated Holocaust Martyrs’ and Heroes’ Remembrance Day Sunday night, marking the start of 24 hours during which schools, government offices, the IDF and local municipalities will hold ceremonies to honor those murdered by the Nazis and their helpers.
The national flag was lowered to half mast at 8 p.m. at the start of the main ceremony at the Yad Vashem Holocaust memorial. President Shimon Peres and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu spoke and Six Holocaust survivors lit memorial torches in memory of the 6 million Jews who were murdered
On Sunday, at Rami Levy, Sha’ar Binyamin, the workers, both Jews and Arabs rushed under extra stress to close the giant discount supermarket early so workers could attend Holocaust Memorial Ceremonies, because the main road #60 was to be closed for United States Secretary of State Kerry’s return trip from Ramallah to Jerusalem. If they didn’t finish on time, everyone, Jews, Arabs, employees and customers, would be “locked in” Sha’ar Binyamin until the convoy was considered safely through.
CONSIDERING all of the Holocaust history which is part of Israeli culture, are we immune from another massive slaughter of Jews?
Prior to Nazi Germany’s systematic murder of six million Jews and a few million other “undesirables” by Nazi standards, the world, including the victims thought the idea of such a slaughter totally impossible, unthinkable.
Step by step and stage by stage, there was denial and confident misreading of the signs. Those who did see the dangers, like Ze’ev Jabotinsky were condemned and shunned by the mainstream Jewish World.
The following is a translation from Yiddish of Jabotinsky’s touching and sad speech in Tisha B’ev, Oct. 24, 1938, Warsaw, Poland. It was his prophetic warning to his people, to the masses of his brothers and sisters:
“It is already three years that I am calling upon you, Polish Jewry, who are the crown of World Jewry. I continue to warn you incessantly that a catastrophe is coming closer, I became gray and old in these days, my heart bleeds, that you dear brothers and sisters, do not see the volcano which will soon begin to spit its all consuming lava. I see that you are not seeing this because you are immersed and sunk in your daily worries. Today, however, I demand from you trust. You were convinced already that my prognoses have already proved to be right. If you think differently, then drive me out of your midst. However, if you do believe me, then listen to me in this 12th hour: In the name of G-D!! Let anyone of you save himself as long as there is still time, and time there is very little. (complete article here)
Remember, too that the allies’ defeat of the Nazis had nothing whatsoever to do with rescuing Jews. They fought to save European countries and Great Britain from Nazi rule. And remember that the military experts, post 1967 Six Days War were certain that the Arabs would never dare risk attacking us again.
We should be seriously worried by the rise in anti-Semitism.
A new report published Sunday, the eve of Holocaust Remembrance Day in Israel, noted a 30 percent increase in anti-Semitic violence and vandalism worldwide in 2012.
The report, by Tel Aviv University’s Kantor Center for the Study of Contemporary European Jewry, said the past year had seen “an alarming rise in the number of terrorist attacks and attempted attacks against Jewish targets, and an escalation in violent incidents against Jews worldwide.”
The report presented an extensive review of various anti-Semitic trends, including anti-Semitic discourse in the public and political spheres and similar expressions on the Internet, especially in social media. Facebook and Twitter, the report said, have become a breeding ground for anti-Semitic and fascist groups promoting hatred against Jews.
IDF Chief of Benny Gantz, whose mother survived the Holocaust, wrote in the visitors’ book at Auschwitz Sunday that “the IDF will make sure that a horror [like the Holocaust] will not happen again.”
It has been said the true revenge for the Holocaust is to bring more Jews into the world in Israel and to return to the Nazi chambers with head held high to show the world who were the eventual and eternal victors over evil.
Gantz will fulfill that concept Monday as the first Israeli Chief of Staff to lead the “March of the Living, when he will lead 10,000 Jewish youth from around the world from the site of the Auschwitz death camp to that of nearby.
“On a clear, cold day, it is hard to understand or sense the gap between the silence all around and the horror that took place here, among the camp barracks, and inside of them, ” Gantz wrote. “The State of Israel is the security that an atrocity like this will not happen again. The IDF is the shield for the national home – the safe haven for the Jewish people….
“I am proud to stand at the head of the army and the delegation that, with great humility, seeks to bow its head in memory of the deceased and respect for the survivors, and to shoulder the responsibility of learning lessons from the past and ensuring future security.”
Israel began to mark Holocaust Memorial Day Sunday night at the Yad VaShem Holocaust Memorial.
Most of the nation will stand in silence when the one-minute siren wails Monday morning in Israel.
January 27, the date in 1945 on which Auschwitz was liberated by the Allies, is the day designated by the United Nations to officially commemorate the Shoah.
But there are some who cannot permit a mention of the Holocaust without insisting, sometimes in lurid pictures, that Israel is a modern day version of the grand masters of genocide: Hitler and the Nazis. And there are armies of willing collaborators for that concept, which include many in the chattering classes. These second level haters repeatedly insist that Jews use the “Holocaust” card to block what they say is just criticism of Israel’s “Apartheid,” and brutal “occupation” of the Arab Palestinians.
The cartoon in this week’s British Sunday Times is a stellar example of the first category.
Notice the hulking presence of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. Raheem Kassam, of The Commentator, describes the depiction as the stereotypical Jew anti-Semites love to hate: “the large-nosed Jew, hunched over a wall, building with the blood of Palestinians as they writhe in pain within it.” He is slathering the bricks of the infamous “Apartheid Wall” – which is neither about a separation of the races, nor is it a brick wall – more than 97% of it is fencing. Also, instead of mortar, the cartoon depicts the substance being used to cement the “wall” is blood. And whose blood? Why, the blood of Arabs, of course.
The words printed beneath the wall say “Israeli Elections.” Perhaps the author never got the memo that rather than a huge right-wing surge by the Israelis, this election instead brought in an almost perfectly balanced knesset of members from the right and the left. The scrawled words beneath the picture state: “Will Cementing Peace Continue?”
Many people were horrified not only that the Times ran the cartoon, but that it was run on Holocaust Rememberance Day. The Anti-Defamation League condemned the cartoon by calling it a “blood libel” and “grossly insensitive,” according to a report in the Algemeiner.
The Times of London is indirectly owned by Ruport Murdoch. Murdoch, as the Algemeiner points out, has been the recipient many times of honors from Jewish groups, including the ADL, for being a friend to Israel.
The cartoonist Gerald Scarfe, is well known not only for his Sunday Times work, but also for drawing musicians. Perhaps it’s not a coincidence that one of his best known album covers is for Pink Floyd’s “The Wall.” Roger Waters, lead singer of Pink Floyd, is a virulent Israel hater who penned an appeal to fellow artists to boycott Israel, and most recently compared Israel to Nazis.
Which brings us back to Holocaust Remembrance Day, and the use by anti-Semites to accuse Israel of being the new Nazis.
Merry Olde England had another bout of “Let’s Call Israel Nazis” just a few days ago, on January 25. David Ward, who is a Liberal Democrat member of Parliament, wrote the following in his personal blog after signing his name in the Holocaust Educational Trust’s Book of Commitment in the House of Commons during an event in anticipation of Holocaust Remembrance Day:
Having visited Auschwitz twice – once with my family and once with local schools – I am saddened that the Jews, who suffered unbelievable levels of persecution during the Holocaust, could within a few years of liberation from the death camps be inflicting atrocities on Palestinians in the new State of Israel and continue to do so on a daily basis in the West Bank and Gaza.
After a flurry of criticism, Ward invoked the standard excuse given when caught with one’s pants down and anti-Semitism showing: “I never for a moment intended to criticise or offend the Jewish people as a whole, either as a race or as a people of faith, and apologise sincerely for the unintended offence which my words caused.”
And many hours after the SundayTimes began receiving criticism for the “grossly insensitive” cartoon it ran on Holocaust Remembrance Day, its editors used the very same excuse, to wit: it isn’t Jews we were criticizing, just Israel.
The Sunday Times firmly believes that it is not anti-Semitic. It is aimed squarely at Mr Netanyahu and his policies, not at Israel, let alone at Jewish people. It appears today because Mr Netanyahu won the Israeli election last week. The Sunday Times condemns anti-Semitism, as is clear in the excellent article in today’s Magazine which exposes the Holocaust-denying tours of concentration camps organised by David Irving.
Oh my: we don’t insult dead Jews, only live ones, especially the kind that firmly believes in, and practices, self-defense.