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October 1, 2014 / 7 Tishri, 5775
At a Glance

Posts Tagged ‘Yad Vashem’

A Preview of President Obama’s Stage Show to Israel

Tuesday, March 12th, 2013

Israel is preparing the red carpet for President Barack Obama, who will have a three-day carefully staged photo-op and an hour or so to entertain a hand-picked audience for an oratorical performance.

A force of 10,000 police officers and security officials will surround President Obama from the time his plane touches down at Ben Gurion Airport next Wednesday until it leaves two mornings later.

Just as he orchestrated his campaign visit to Israel and Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu in 2008, White House planners have worked it out to make sure America’s Big Boss will stay in neutral territory.

He will visit the Israel Museum, which is full of Muslim, Christian and Jewish displays, giving him the opportunity to show how respectful he is of the world’s three major religions. The highlight will be his observing the Dead Sea Scrolls, which won’t upset the Palestinian Authority since the Scrolls have nothing to do with the re-written Muslim history of Israel.

The tentative schedule of President Obama’s trip does not list the Bethlehem Church of Nativity, which the President previously said he wanted to visit. It is located only a few minutes from Jerusalem, but if he does arrive there, it will require a mammoth security operation that would require “cleansing” the area of any Arab within shooting distance and would probably cause a vicious Arab reaction.

President Obama may view the Iron Dome missile, if a trip to Bethlehem does not override it,  and he will state that  American funding of the defensive weapon against incoming short-range missiles is proof that “Israel has America’s back.”

Obama will make an obligatory trip to PA Chairman Mahmoud Abbas in Ramallah, where the PA security force, undoubtedly backed up by behind-the-scenes Israeli intelligence, will try to keep his subjects out of view so they don’t greet President Obama by burning American flags.

The President will say that his visit demonstrates the United States’ commitment to the Palestinian people, including those in Gaza, where even in his worst nightmare, he would not think of visiting.

Abbas will smile with Obama, which will infuriate the Arab street given the United States’ refusal to accept Abbas’ swipe in the face of the White House by putting another nail in the coffin of the “peace process” and going to the United Nations for de facto recognition of its territorial and political demands.

Abbas will tell Obama he wants to negotiate with Prime Minister Netanyahu, although no one in the press corps will report that Abbas has left nothing on the table to negotiate.

Obama will return to Jerusalem for a gala dinner with President Shimon Peres and will speak to Israelis at the Jerusalem Convention Center for what may be his last opportunity to talk directly to Israel.

After praising Israel to no end, and after mentioning that he will visit Mount Herzl the following day to honor the memory of former Prime Minister and Oslo Accords champion Yitzchak Rabin, and after falling over himself about the emotions he will experience when he visits Yad VaShem the next day, and after saying how much Abbas really wants to make peace if Israel would only let him, he will warn everyone that the alternative to a “two-state solution” is the end of Israel as a Jewish state. He will not note that Abbas’ official maps show all of Israel as “Palestine.”

Obama will try to convince Israelis that Abbas has halted incitement against Israel, without mentioning the endless honoring of suicide terrorists and ongoing PA television programs that remind viewers that Jews are the root of all evil.

Prime Minister Netanyahu and President Obama will tell each other how much they are working hand-in-hand to stop Iran from reaching nuclear capability, and who knows what they will say to each other behind doors?

Five years ago, Obama visited the Western Wall during his presidential campaign, and back home,  he told Jews in the United States that Jerusalem is the “undivided capital of Israel.” The next day, a furious Arab world forced him to backtrack, and he came up with a line that he really meant it won’t be divided again as it was between 1949 and 1967, the period of the Jordanian occupation when an “apartheid” barbed wire fence kept Jews out of their former homes in the Old City.

Things have changed since then.

Every Jew living in what once was Jordanian-occupied Jerusalem is now an “illegitimate settler,” according to President Obama.

Obama probably would want to declare a “three-faith” solution for Jerusalem with a prayer at an Old City church, a solemn stand at the Western Wall again along with a tour of the Al Aqsa mosque on the Temple Mount, the holiest site in Judaism. But even an announcement that he would want to step foot in the mosque would spark a world-wide Arab demonstration against such a desecration by an infidel, who was born into a Muslim family but is a Christian.

Google Cultural Institute Presents Jewish Content in 1st Exhibits

Thursday, October 11th, 2012

Google introduced a new online historical collection of digitized material, highlighting several Jewish themes, events and institutional partners in its first wave of exhibits.

At least 13 of the Google Cultural Institute’s inaugural collection of 42 featured exhibits consist of materials from the Anne Frank House, the Polish History Museum, the Auschwitz-Birkenau State Museum, Foundation France Israel and Yad Vashem.

Highlighted exhibits announced Wednesday include the testimony of Jan Karski, the World War II Polish resistance hero who tried to convince Allied leaders of the horrors of the Holocaust; as well as the saga of Edek Galinski & Mala Zimetbaum, the couple who unsuccessfully attempted to escape Auschwitz.

Visitors to Google’s new online multimedia museum can also see the last known photograph taken of Anne Frank, and browse featured historical events that include the Nuremberg Trials, the 1948 Arab-Israel War and the 1958 bombing of the Hebrew Benevolent Congregation in Atlanta.

The new resource comes one year after Google published the Dead Sea Scrolls online, the result of a partnership with the Israel Antiquities Authority.

The Holocaust Then And Now

Thursday, September 20th, 2012

One of my searing early memories from Israel is a visit nearly four decades ago to the Ghetto Fighters Museum in the Beit Lohamei Hagetaot kibbutz. The world’s first Holocaust museum, it was built soon after the Independence War by survivors of the Warsaw Ghetto uprising.

Despite its posted visiting hours the museum was closed when I arrived. Not yet socialized to Israeli indifference to the yekke virtue of promptness on which I had been raised, I politely knocked on the door. Then I knocked more loudly, and insistently. After a few moments of mounting frustration, I pounded assertively. Finally, a janitor appeared and beckoned me inside.

Directly ahead was a display case with a single tiny pair of child’s shoes. It was hard to imagine a more poignant remnant from the brutally destroyed Warsaw community. Its brave leaders, young men and women in their twenties, had chosen to resist the Nazi onslaught rather than die in gas chambers.

Their desperate but doomed rebellion erupted on April 19, 1943, the eve of Passover. Three weeks later, Szmul Zygielbojm, a member of the Polish government in exile in London, wrote: “I cannot continue to live and to be silent while the remnants of Polish Jewry, whose representative I am, are being murdered. . . . I wish to give expression to my most profound protest against the inaction in which the world watches and permits the destruction of the Jewish people.” Then he committed suicide.

On May 16, after nearly 50,000 Jews were rounded up for deportation to death camps and 13,000 heroic fighters had been relentlessly hunted down and murdered, Nazi commander Jürgen Stroop triumphantly declared: “The Jewish Quarter of Warsaw is no longer in existence.”

Thirty-four surviving fighters escaped through the sewers, among them Zivia Lubetkin, one of the underground leaders of the uprising. After the war, she married Yitzhak Zuckerman, who had commanded the ZOB resistance organization in Warsaw. They were among the founders of kibbutz Lohamei Hagetaot, built on memories of Jewish annihilation.

I visited the ghetto museum to pay homage to the 7-year-old Jewish boy from Warsaw, exactly my age at the time, whose iconic photograph was indelibly imprinted in my memory. Standing among a group of Jews “forcibly pulled out of dug-outs,” according to the photo caption from Stroop’s report, his arms were raised in surrender, bracketing his terror-stricken face. Wearing a cap, coat and knee socks, he was properly dressed for his final journey, surely to Treblinka.

As I completed my visit, the janitor approached and had me follow him downstairs. There, in her office, I met Zivia Lubetkin, about whom I knew nothing at the time. She brusquely asked about my background, my reasons for coming to Israel, and my response to the exhibits.

When I mentioned the shoes, her eyes blazed. I was, she sharply reminded me, old enough to remember the Holocaust. I was a Jew. I might have been among those children. With children of my own, she asked pointedly, how could I justify my decision to raise them in galut? I had no answers. I remained silent.

These memories were recently revived while reading Edward Rothstein’s “An Evolving Holocaust Message” in the International Herald Tribune (September 7). The message that Rothstein perceptively illuminated is that Israeli Holocaust museums – most conspicuously Lohamei HaGetaot – have decided to emphasize the “universal lessons” of the annihilation of six million Jews. “Indifference to the suffering of others,” not merely to Jews, must be confronted. The museum director mentioned plans to expand its mission to encourage “tolerance” between Jews and Arabs.

At kibbutz Yad Mordechai, which commemorates the courage of Warsaw Ghetto uprising leader Mordechai Anielewicz, the museum director concurs. She wants it to shift focus from “racism and xenophobia” to “peaceful coexistence” (as though future Nazis and their emulators can be taught by a museum visit to be civilized).

With this shift, Rothstein notes, Israeli Holocaust museums – with the conspicuous exception of Yad Vashem in Jerusalem – are emulating the Museum of Tolerance in Los Angeles. It has become the model for universalizing the Holocaust, while underscoring the fashionable message of multicultural tolerance that its sponsors wish to convey.

That Israeli Holocaust museums should emulate their Diaspora counterpart reveals something profoundly dismaying about contemporary culture in the Jewish state. The Nazis targeted Jews for annihilation; now Israel confronts Muslim nations that are determined to destroy it. Yet despite eighty years of unrelenting Judeophobia, including the slaughter of six million European Jews and the expulsion of 700,000 Mizrahi Jews from their Middle Eastern homes, Holocaust museums are focusing on the necessity to be nice to neighbors rather than underscore the appalling consequences of hating Jews.

Hate Graffiti Accusing Zionism of Causing the Holocaust Discovered on Yad Vashem Walls

Monday, June 11th, 2012

Early Monday morning, ten pieces of hate graffiti in Hebrew were discovered in the open campus of Yad Vashem, Jerusalem, a prominent segment of it scrawled across the walls of the Warsaw Ghetto Square monument.

“This is a difficult and painful day for me and the staff of Yad Vashem,” said Avner Shalev, Chairman of Yad Vashem. “I am shocked and stunned by this callous expression of burning hatred against Zionists and Zionism.”

This is a worrying act that crosses a red line and is an offense to the memory of the Holocaust,” Shalev added. “I have reported it to the Minister of Education Gideon Sa’ar, who also expressed his bewilderment. I also spoke to Yad Vashem Council Chairman Rabbi Israel Meir Lau, who joined me in expressing his concern over this grave deed.”

The particularly disturbing slurs included poisonous attacks on Zionism. The main motif was that Zionism caused the Holocaust, for example:

“The Zionists wanted the Holocaust!”

“Persecuting Jews! You declared war on Hitler in the name of the Jewish people. You brought about the Shoah!”

“If Hitler hadn’t existed, the Zionists would have invented him.”

Police are investigating.

Bill Cosby & the Holocaust

Monday, May 21st, 2012

http://notajew-jew.com/?p=88

The Holocaust happened 25 years before I was born.  25 years before now is 1987.

The #1 television show 25 years ago was The Cosby Show.  That’s how fresh the Holocaust was in my mind growing up.  Fresher than The Cosby Show is to you.  Or Family Ties.  Or Beverly Hills Cop 2.  Imagine the entire Holocaust happening between the release of Beverly Hills Cop 1 and Beverly Hills Cop 2 – that’s how fresh the Holocaust was in the world in which I grew up.

Back then, we had maybe a dozen channels on TV.  And still, at almost every hour of every day, there was something on at least one of those channels about the horrors of the Holocaust or the evil of Adolph Hitler.

When I went to Yad Vashem (the Holocaust Memorial) in Jerusalem, my young guide prepared me for what I was about to see on the screens: the horrific images of dead Jews being bulldozed into pits.  He looked at me like he was expecting me to break down in tears or recoil in shock, which was apparently what all of his other clients did.  But I had seen those images a thousand times before on our handful of TV channels.  They helped form my earliest view of the world, and my earliest understanding of evil.  But these images were apparently not familiar to anyone else my guide had taken through Yad Vashem.  I didn’t cry.  I didn’t recoil.  I just stiffened my spine with yet another reason to make the bad people pay for their evil (reason #487: the room full of shoes at the Holocaust Museum).

Today, there are 1,000 channels on TV and almost nothing on any of them about Hitler or the Holocaust.  Even the History Channel has largely foregone Hitler and the Holocaust for “Pawn Stars,” “Cajun Pawn Stars” and “American Picker.”  American college students today are now 67 years removed from the horrors of six million Jews being starved, experimented on, gassed, and cremated – with only their shoes left behind as evidence that these Jewish human beings lived, loved, suffered, and died.

And when college kids today turn on the TV, they only have a 1 in 1,000 chance of landing on a channel that would even consider airing something that would teach them about Nazis – and even on that 1 channel there’s an 80% chance that it will be airing “Ice Road Truckers” instead of teaching this generation about the true nature of evil.

Don’t get me wrong.  I am not some old guy, sitting on a porch, barking about “these kids nowadays.”  I am young enough to have been a hip-hop DJ at one point, and to produce a dance music record that charted above Puff Daddy (in Belgium) (no lie) (more on that later).  And yet my birthday was closer to the 1800’s than today’s college kids’ birthdays are to the Holocaust.

“Never forget” means remembering.  So this is my friendly reminder.

Thousands of Israeli Students Mark Memorial Day at Yad Vashem

Monday, April 23rd, 2012

Jerusalem – Thousands of high school students from across Israel participated in a national walk on Sunday, April 22, from Yad Vashem on the “Connecting Path” to Mount Herzl, Israel’s national cemetery, organized by Israel’s Ministry of Education. The students took part in a special school project to commemorate the nation’s Holocaust Day, which took place last Thursday, and its connection to Israel’s Memorial Day for Fallen Soldiers and Victims of Terror, which falls on Wednesday.

During the walk, the students stopped at different stations along the way, learning about the Jewish people’s struggle for survival during the Holocaust and recalling entire Jewish communities wiped out by the systematic state murder of Nazi Germany’s Adolf Hitler and his collaborators across Europe. The names of the 5,000 Jewish communities that were destroyed or barely survived the Holocaust are engraved on 107 stone walls known as the “Valley of Communities” at Yad Vashem. As the high school students passed through, there were many who looked for the names of cities and towns of grandparents had come from.

“I found the name of my grandfather’s town in Poland,” said Udi Knebel, an eighth grade student at Leyada High School, whose grandfather is a Holocaust survivor.

“From the Holocaust to Revival” was the theme of the day. Along the path to Mount Herzl, the burial site of some of the Jewish people’s most well-known leaders and fighters who sought to shape an independent Jewish state, students passed by an original German cattle car given by Polish authorities that was used to transport Jews to extermination camps. The students also learned about the hollow tree trunk that that provided shelter for Jakob Silberstein when the Nazis were searching for him in the home of Jana Sudova, which he had escaped to during a death march from Auschwitz to Czechoslovakia in January 1945.  Silberstein located the tree trunk many years later and had it brought to Yad Vashem five years ago where it is now on display.

The connection between the Holocaust Remembrance Day and Israel’s Memorial Day For Fallen Soldiers was brought to light by the concluding ceremony held at Yad Vashem’s memorial site for Holocaust survivors who fought and fell during Israel’s 1948 Independence Day War. High school student representatives laid a wreath of flowers at the sight which was built to commemorate all those who were the last and surviving members of families killed in the Holocaust, who came to Israel and died battling Israel’s first war as a young state.

“These people gave the ultimate sacrifice,” said 18-year old Noi, about to enter the army and one of the guides giving tours to the students on Sunday. “We are here today thanks in part to those Holocaust survivors who fought to make this Jewish state happen,” he explained to the students. “They were never able to establish their own homes here in Israel, but they helped create a national home for our people. We must never forget them, nor their suffering or their faith in a dream that seemed impossible.”

 

Israel Remembers the Holocaust

Thursday, April 19th, 2012

As air raid sirens blared out across the country on Thursday, citizens of Israel stopped for a moment of silence to remember the victims of the Holocaust.

Synchronized sirens rang out at 10am throughout Israel, with pedestrian and road traffic, businesses and schools coming to an abrupt halt, and standing in silence for the 2 minute-long memorial.  In Jerusalem, sidewalks were filled with all kinds of Israelis, many reciting Psalms from prayer books quickly drawn from their pockets.  Memorial ceremonies conducted throughout Israel for the occasion also ceased for the siren.

On Wednesday, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu warned that dismissing the Iranian nuclear threat as an exaggeration “have learned nothing from the Holocaust.”

Speaking at the national Holocaust Rememberance Day memorial at the Warsaw Ghetto Square in Jerusalem’s Yad Vashem Holocaust Museum, Prime Minister Netanyahu called thwarting Iran’s nuclear capability an “obligation” on the world, but especially on Israel.  “Remembering the Holocaust is imperative for learning the lessons of the past in order to ensure the foundations of the future,” the prime minister said. “I hope the day comes when we learn of calls for Israel’s annihilation in history classes only, and not in daily media reports. But that day is not here yet. The Iranian regime is openly calling for our destruction and working frantically for the development of nuclear weapons as a means to that end.”

President Shimon Peres, also speaking at the ceremony, said Israel is capable today of dealing with Iranian threats, and appealed to the world not to repeat the mistakes of the past.   “Humankind has no choice but to learn the lessons of the Holocaust and face existing threats, before it is too late,” he said.

The ceremony, held under the theme “My Brother’s Keeper”, emphasized Jewish solidarity during the Holocaust, and honored six survivors who provided aid to fellow Jews during the Holocaust.  Hundreds of additional Holocaust survivors were in attendance.

IDF Chief of Staff Lieutenant General Benny Gantz told attendees at the Holocaust Remembrance Day ceremony at Kibbutz Tel Yitzhak on Wednesday night that the IDF is “the embodiment of the strength of the Jewish nation”, and that “we are the arm of steel that will respond to any attempt to hurt us with a harsh blow.  We are the people’s wall of protection.”

Throughout Thursday, a Knesset ceremony called “Every Person Has a Name” will read out a list of the names of Holocaust victims.  Prime Minister Netanyahu and President Peres will participate in the event.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/news/israel-remembers-the-holocaust/2012/04/19/

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