Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu met Sunday at the Prime Minister’s Office in Jerusalem with the torchlighters, the survivor who will recite the E-l maale rahamim memorial prayer and the survivor who will speak on behalf of survivors in general, at the opening ceremony for Holocaust Martyrs’ and Heroes’ Remembrance Day.
Netanyahu listened to the moving and brave stories of survivors Tova Gutstein, Ben-Zion Raisch, Judith Sohlberg, Robert Bonfil, Efim Gimelshtein and Malka Rendel, who will light the torches, at the official ceremony for Holocaust Martyrs’ and Heroes Remembrance Day at Yad Vashem tomorrow evening, and of survivors Shoshana Weis and Efraim Mol, who will speak on behalf of survivors in general and recite the E-l maale rahamim memorial prayer, respectively.
“As I listen to your stories, I ask myself, and I think everyone asks themselves, what would have happened if I was there? Could I find the strength to save myself or others? This is not at all self-evident; therefore, your stories are an outstanding example of the human spirit, and the strength inherent in the soul of our people,” he said.
“Your personal stories are intertwined with the story of our national revival; there is no better way to put it,” he added.
Netanyahu noted that hostility toward the Jewish people and Israel continues still today.
“The desire to destroy us has not disappeared from the world, it merely takes on a different form as it does in every generation. What has changed is our collective ability to defend ourselves, to rebuff those who seek our lives. This is the great change that has occurred with our return here,” he stated.
“I see the national story as a reflection of your personal stories, and vice-versa. I cannot tell you that there will not be additional attempts to destroy us because they exist all the time, but I see your stories – the stories of the Holocaust and our revival – as the greatest and best guarantee of our continued existence,” he concluded.