Rivlin Likens Spread of Anti-Semitism to Coronavirus
Israel's President Reuven Rivlin spoke on Monday evening 20 April 2020, addressing the opening ceremony of Holocaust Memorial Day. The message was recorded in advance without invited guests because of the Ministry of Health’s instructions regarding coronavirus. Rivlin said in his address: “Brothers and sisters, Holocaust survivors, second and third generations, families, my fellow Israeli citizens, over the past few weeks, it seems as if the world has stopped dead. The fight against the coronavirus pandemic is setting the agenda of our lives right now, from one news broadcast to the next, from one set of instructions to the next. So, unfortunately, we are not gathering together tonight, as we do every year, in Warsaw Ghetto Square at Yad Vashem. But we must not allow the threats of the present to cast a shadow over the memory of the past. We must remember! We remember! We will continue to remember! For our own sakes, and for future generations. The threats of the present do not blur the meaning of this hallowed day. Exactly 75 years have passed since the gates of hell were opened. In the spring of 1945, a few months after the furnaces of Auschwitz were extinguished, the sun shone over Bergen-Belsen and the other camps. For six million of our brothers and sisters, it was too late. When the liberators entered the camps, they stood before hell on earth. Bodies scattered, and the corpses walking among them. They were the ‘Muselmanner’, the living dead, starved, parched with thirst, exhausted and sick. Their families had been murdered and incinerated, massacred or missing. They had lost everything, even the ability to weep.
"My fellow Israelis, it was the human spirit, that triumphed over the Holocaust. The Nazi beast conquered bodies, but not spirits. In the paths of tears, in the valleys of hell, in a world cast asunder and devoid of solidarity, when death was among them every day, our brothers and sisters put their lives at risk to save the weakest among them. Not a single Jew who was rescued from that hell did so without the help of another Jew, another human being. Persecuted Jews, who themselves had nothing, showed bravery, resourcefulness, and humanity and saved lives. They proved that, even in the depths, one can and must choose to be human, to hold the most fundamental Jewish value of life, of mutual responsibility. The current pandemic, which makes no distinction between peoples only sharpens our shared commitment to human solidarity, mutual responsibility and an uncompromising fight against anti-Semitism and hatred which are also spreading, like a virus, among people. Brothers and sisters, Holocaust survivors, heroes of our independence. Memories live longer than those who hold them. We promise to pass on the torch of memory, with you and on your behalf". (VFI News)
"You will know that I am among my people Israel, that I am the Lord your God, and there is no other. Never again will my people be disgraced." Joel 2:27