Yesterday’s special Knesset session marking Holocaust Remembrance Day began with the lawmakers standing during the two-minute-long siren which sounded throughout Israel in honor of the victims.
“The State of Israel was not established because of the Holocaust, but it carries in its DNA a commitment to the lessons of the Holocaust, and a commitment to the Holocaust survivors,” Speaker of the Knesset MK Benny Gantz (Blue and White) said.
“These days, when the citizens of Israel pin their hopes on us, our responsibility as elected officials (is much greater). We must protect this country and its two main strengths: its military might… and making certain that Israel will be the safest place for Jews and all its citizens. And that ‘never again,'” Speaker Gantz said in his speech. “(Just as important) is our moral fortitude. To be better. A light unto the nations. To demand from ourselves more than we expect from others.”
Speaker Gantz further said “we must preserve the threads that bind as a society, without ‘we’ and ‘they,’ without camps that, more than they want their own success, hope for the failure of the other camp.”
Speaker Gantz said he has taken upon himself to “safeguard Israeli democracy,” because “I believe that it is the most significant source of our strength as a society. It is the inner strength which allows us to turn the fingers which (society) is composed of into a fist.”
Addressing the corona crisis, Speaker Gantz said that “as a dangerous pandemic rages, this commitment is (required of us to a much greater extent). To protect the country, and also the members of that generation, which is gradually disappearing. They need us; they need our (support).”
“These days, when loneliness is required of them to protect their health, it is important that the Holocaust survivors in particular, and Israel’s elderly citizens in general, know that they are not alone. We are committed to preserving their health, and we are committed to care for their wellbeing, both physical and mental. This takes precedence over any economic or business-related consideration. This is a moral and existential commandment.”
“Members of Knesset, on this day, and every day, we will remember and remind ourselves why we are here, and what a huge commitment we carry on our shoulders. A commitment that ‘never again,’ a commitment to preserve the legacy of the six million whose blood cries out from the earth.”