Towards International Holocaust Day: the bill that will ban the use of Nazi symbols

Ahead of International Holocaust Remembrance Day, which will be celebrated this week, today (Tuesday) the Aliyah, Absorption and Diaspora Committee headed by MK Oded Forer (Yisrael Beitenu) held a meeting and a tour of Yad Vashem, which promised that “I will put a bill on the Knesset table that would ban the use of Nazi symbols” The International Holocaust Remembrance Day is celebrated worldwide on January 27, the date on which the Auschwitz extermination camp was liberated from the Nazis by the Russian army. The International Holocaust Remembrance Day was established by the United Nations General Assembly on November 1, 2005.

During the meeting held at Yad Vashem, the Ministry of Education expressed hope that the diplomatic crisis with Poland would end soon and that the youth and student delegations would return to the traditional trips to the extermination camps. Dodi Shokaf, director of a national training center for trips to Poland at the Ministry of Education: “We are prepared to return the delegations to Poland. Our target date for the return of the delegations is around the events of the 80th anniversary of the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising. We hope that the crisis with Poland will be resolved at the diplomatic level in the near future.”

During the year 2022, 255,620 tourists from abroad visited Yad Vashem. In addition to this, in the past year 70,632 students, 65,971 students and young leaders, 70,622 members of the security forces, 6,314 teachers and 82,466 Israeli visitors from the general public passed through Yad Vashem Zvika Peyraizen, CEO of Yad Vashem: “We recognize that there is an increase in the number of requests to our archive for the purpose of receiving documents that testify to Jewish identity that will allow their owners to immigrate to Israel under the Law of Return. In the past year, we have contacted the family members of the Hasidic of the Nations who are on the fighting line In Ukraine, we offered them to find refuge in Israel.”

According to the data of the Authority for the Rights of Holocaust Survivors, about 150,600 Holocaust survivors and victims of anti-Semitic harassment during the Holocaust live in Israel today. The average age of the survivors is 87.5 years. 63% of the survivors born in Europe – 55,300 born in the former Soviet Union, 17,100 born in Romania, 7,800 born in Poland, 4,100 born in Bulgaria, 2,100 born in Hungary and 2,000 born in Germany. 37% of the survivors born in Asia and North Africa – 28,300 born in Morocco and Algeria Antisemitism and decrees of the Vichy regime 16,500 people born in Iraq who were exposed to the Farhud riots in Baghdad in 1941, about 10,200 people born in Tunisia and Libya who suffered from racial laws and were sent to labor camps.

MK Oded Forer, chairman of the Aliyah, Absorption and Diaspora Committee, said: “The biggest challenge today is to make the memory of the Holocaust accessible to the younger generation. The responsibility rests on our shoulders to commemorate and remember the Holocaust and ensure that it does not happen again.” MK Porer commented on the use of Nazi symbols during the demonstrations: “We see in Israel the use of Nazi symbols as contempt. Using these symbols from all sides of the political spectrum is wrong. Today I will put on the table of the Knesset a bill that will ban the use of Nazi symbols. We must continue to support the fight against anti-Semitism around the world. We see anti-Semitism rearing its head around the world and it is very disturbing.”

William Daroff, CEO of the Conference of Presidents added: “The Holocaust was one of the darkest times in the entire world. A place like “Yad Vashem” ensures that the memory of the Holocaust will never be forgotten. We are not afraid to fight anti-Semitism that rears its head. We are not afraid to fight Hamas that rears its head in Gaza or against anti-Semitism on social media. We need to make sure that the memory of the Holocaust continues both in school and in universities. International Holocaust Day is an opportunity for the world to declare “never again”. We need to ensure the continued existence of the State of Israel and the continued existence of the Jewish people around the world.”

Racheli Bartz-Rix, head of the department for the fight against anti-Semitism in the World Zionist Organization, said: “This year we reached a year of containment in the events of anti-Semitism, we have not yet reached the end of the rest, but we can see a trend of containment. The war between Russia and Ukraine reignited the manifestations of anti-Semitism.”

The Chairman of the Union of Rabbis in the Islamic Countries, Rabbi Menachem Mendel Hitrik, noted that “Many Muslim policies teach the memory of the Holocaust. Recently, Abu Dhabi announced that it intends to include the memory of the Holocaust in the curriculum, and at the University of Istanbul, an event will be held on Friday to mark International Holocaust Day. The memorial gatherings in the Arab world should be held in public places and not only in the Jewish communities so that the memory of the Holocaust will be the common property and not only the property of the Jews.”

According to MK Yevgeni Soba (Israel Beitenu): “I reject outright any use of anti-Semitic expressions within the political discourse, I call on my members of the Knesset not to use expressions related to the Holocaust. I am against the boycott of trips to Poland, an Israeli youth who visits Poland becomes a better ambassador for the Jewish people.”

MK Sharon Nir (Israel Beitenu): “The number of Holocaust survivors is dwindling, we need to know how to educate the younger generation who are not Jewish about the memory of the Holocaust in order to generate great sentiment for the Jewish people.” MK Ohad Tal (Religious Zionism): “55% of Jewish students on US campuses report that they hide their Jewish identity. Diaspora Jews are afraid to reveal their identity in public and here in Israel we need to know how to strengthen our Jewish nephews in the Diaspora.”

MK Tatiana Mazarsky (Yesh Atid): “I was born in the Soviet Union, for me living as a Jew is growing up under the fear of anti-Semitism. Yad Vashem is the ship that carries the narrative of the Jewish people, every Jew must visit this important place at least once during his life. We need to make the memory of the Holocaust accessible to future generations.”

MK Michal Kotler and Vanush said: “Social networks are a fertile ground for spreading anti-Semitism. Anti-Semitic processes on social networks lead to physical harm to Jews around the world. We try to follow the trends on the networks in order to prevent the next harm to Jews around the world.”

“Anti-Semitic thoughts are translated into anti-Semitic acts,” said Carol Nouriel, director general of the Anti-Defamation League. According to Nouriel: “There is an increase in sentiment against the State of Israel, the main trends are an increase in the severity of anti-Semitic acts and an increase in attacks against Jewish religious institutions. In addition to this, there is an increase in anti-Semitism on social networks.”

The chairman of the committee, MK Oded Forer, summarized the discussion: “Today we hear various statements about intentions to change the “Law of Return”, in my view this is an attack on the Holy of Holies of the Jewish people. If there was a State of Israel during the Nazi Germany era – there would be no Holocaust. The State of Israel will always accept every scion of the Jewish people and we will know how to protect and protect our people wherever they are in the world. We are asking “Yad Vashem” to receive the data on the countries of the world that cooperate with the international trainings so that we in the committee can formulate an action plan for the success of passing down the memory of the Holocaust For the younger generation. Also, I intend to engage the committee in defining Zionism as an identity protected against manifestations of anti-Semitism.”

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