by: Janet Aslin
Wednesday, 25 January 2023 | Early this morning, President Herzog left Ben Gurion Airport, bound for Brussels. His two-day trip will include several high-level meetings today and will culminate in his keynote address to the European Union’s parliament as it observes International Holocaust Remembrance Day on Thursday.
His Majesty King Philippe will welcome President Herzog at Belgium’s royal palace upon his arrival this morning. The remainder of the day will include a visit to the Athénée Ganenou Jewish school, a meeting with Ursula von der Leyen, president of the European Commission, a visit to the Great Synagogue of Europe and an evening event with leaders of world Jewish organizations.
Tomorrow, President Herzog will address European members of parliament as well as Holocaust survivors. Yad Vashem, Israel’s Holocaust Remembrance Center, said that as part of the address, Herzog “will unveil a replica of the artwork ‘The Refugee’ produced by German Jewish artist Felix Nussbaum while he was in hiding in 1939. Sadly, in 1944, Nussbaum and his wife were discovered and sent to Auschwitz, where they were murdered.
In remarks before his departure, President Herzog said of his Holocaust address, “I will have the privilege of appearing before the [EU] Parliament and to speak for the State of Israel. I will be moved to think that eighty years ago, nobody could have imagined that the head of a state of the Jewish people would stand before a European parliament and mark the most terrible event in the history of humanity.”
There are several dates when victims of the Holocaust are remembered. In 1953, the State of Israel instituted Yom HaShoah (Holocaust Day in Hebrew) to be observed annually on the 27th of Nisan, which usually falls in April on the Gregorian calendar. The United Nations’ observance came only in 2005 and was set on January 27, the date Auschwitz was liberated in 1945.
The president said he will also use the opportunities presented at his various meetings to raise issues of concern to Israel today. “At all these places, I shall of course raise the enormous challenge facing us and the whole Middle East in the form of Iran, which is racing toward nuclear weapons, using terror throughout the Middle East, and supplying weapons used against the Ukrainian people.”
As we remember the horrific tragedy of the Holocaust, we join with the Jewish people in saying, “Never again.”
Am Israel Chai! (The people of Israel live!)
Posted on January 25, 2023
Source: (Bridges for Peace, January 25, 2023)
Photo Credit: Amos Ben Gershom / Government Press Office/commons.wikimedia.org
Photo License: wikimedia
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