Today, May 11, 2016 is Yom Hazikaron, Israel’s national Memorial Day. This is the day Israel remembers its fallen soldiers.
At eight pm last night—and again this morning at 11 am—sirens all across Israel sounded. For one full minute, we stopped, stood and remembered those who have been killed so that we might live freely as Jews in this, our modern, reconstituted national Jewish homeland. The sirens’ sound created a somber memorial moment.
But Yom Hazikaron is not just the day we remember our fallen soldiers. It’s also the day we remember those civilians among us—thousands upon thousands of our neighbours--who have been killed, wounded, maimed and/or forever traumatized by Arab attacks. It is a day that reminds us of many things.
This day reminds us that the story of the Jewish people has never changed. It is a story of random but inevitable persecution.
In World War Two, the Nazis transformed this story of persecution. They turned it into a national dream. They used modern technology to create a Jew-killing machine never before seen.
On a small scale, this Nazi dream succeeded: in hundreds of small towns and villages across Poland, Hungary, Rumania, Lithuania, Estonia, Latvia and parts of Russia, Jewish populations were completely exterminated. Those places became Judenrein—100% Jew-free.
Just one week ago in Israel, on May 5, 2016, we remembered those times and that horror. One week ago was our national Holocaust Day, Yom HaShoah. We remembered the killing. We remembered the Nazis. We remembered the dead.
Today, we honor Yom Hazikaron, our Memorial Day. Today, we continue to remember. But this time, we remember Jews in Israel—not the Jews of Europe during 1939-45.
Today, on Memorial Day, our thoughts are clear. In our cemeteries across Israel, we see proof that Jews continue to be killed. We understand: the Nazi dream continues. Jewish existence is still threatened by a hate driven by national leaders.
Today, Yom HaZikaron, our national Memorial Day, we see a headline that drives home this very point. Today, we read, Dalit Halevi, “PA PM: We're following the path of the Nazi Mufti”, Arutz Sheva, May 11, 2016.
We understand. The Nazi dream lives.
The story behind this headline reports that the Prime Minister of today's Palestinian Authority (PA)—our so-called ‘peace partners’—has recently spoken before the Seventh International Bayit al-Maqdis Islamic Conference, held in Ramallah. He reminded his audience that the very First Bayit al-Maqdis Islamic Conference had been held in 1931. That Conference was presided over by the then-Mufti of Jerusalem, Haj Amin al-Husseini. Husseini loved the Nazi regime. He went to Hitler. He helped Hitler. He called for a Nazi-style killing of Jews in the then-Jewish Palestine.
This modern PA Prime Minister, Rami Hamdallah, reaffirms Husseini’s goals. He declares to the world that the PA still follows the Jew-hating Husseini path.
The Palestinian Authority endorses the Husseini call to bring the Nazi nightmare to the Jewish people of Israel. The Palestinian Authority continues to pursue the Nazi dream.
That dream is relevant to us. It is aimed directly at us.
This may be why Yom HaShoah, Israel’s Holocaust Day, has been placed so close to our Yom HaZikaron, our national Memorial Day: to remind us that nothing has changed for the Jewish people. The threat is still there. The anti-Jew bloodlust is still there. The dream to exterminate us is still there.
If the Arab commitment to the Nazi dream became reality, Israel would cease to exist. The Jews would no longer have a sovereign place. Look at the Arab map of ‘Palestine’. It’s the map of Israel renamed as ‘Palestine’.
If the Arab Nazi dream came true, the Jews of Israel would disappear just as they disappeared from the Arab-run Iraq, Libya, Morocco, Yemen, etc. Israel would become Judenrein—Jew-free. Israel would become what even Adolf Hitler had failed to accomplish-- a national Nazi Judenrein paradise.
We remember this Nazi dream on Yom HaShoah. We remember it again on Yom HaZikaron. We remember because when you visit the graves of those who have fallen you can see how Arabs have kept that evil dream alive.
On this Yom HaZikaron, Israel’s National Military cemetery, Har Herzl, was so crowded, it was nearly impossible to walk. Road traffic to the cemetery was worse than rush hour.
We take Yom Hazikaron seriously. We know what’s at stake. We understand the sacrifice we suffer for our freedom.
We remember the Nazi nightmare. We remember the Arab calls to exterminate us. We remember.
Because of the dead who lay before us on Yom HaZikaron, we will never forget. We will never forget why these beloved have died. We will also not forget that the Nazi dream lives just 22 kilometres away.
It lives in Ramallah. It is close. Very close.
We will never forget that.