CULTURE & HERITAGE - Culture & History

Nissim Zvili, Israel’s Ambassador to France, writes

... As we approach the end of April, several commemorations follow each other in the State of Israel. In three ceremonies – Yom Hashoah, Yom Hazikaron and Yom Haatsmaout – we commemorate the whole history of the Jewish people.


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Yom Hashoah recalls the cataclysm, the horror of the death camps, man’s folly and bestiality towards six million Jews, guilty simply of being Jews. We shall never forget what was done to our people and we shall never again allow the taking of a Jewish life to go unpunished.

After the Shoah came the period of reconstruction and the re-birth of Israel, giving hope to those who had lost everything.

The young state, no sooner born, was immediately plunged into wars which could not be lost. It was a question of survival. The situation today is no different; the security of Israel and its citizens remains a prime concern.

Unhappily, Israel’s wars have left numerous victims. We think of them on Yom Hazikaron, the day of remembrance. Aside from the soldiers who have given their lives on the field of battle the list includes civilians, victims of many attacks.

A young Israeli boy said to me: “We used to speak of old soldiers like in France they spoke of victims of the First World War or of the Second World War. Today we speak of children who no longer sit at our side at their school desk, simply because they got on the wrong bus at the wrong time on their way to school”.

We also think of them today, in this war which hits us daily and which takes from us our loved ones.