President Shimon Peres said, Monday evening, that a strong Israel is an answer to contemporary anti-Semitism. Opening Holocaust Memorial Day at the Yad Vashem Holocaust memorial in Jerusalem, he recalled those who were shot and buried in mass graves, burned in synagogues, or shipped to concentration or death camps and asked how others escaped and where in cultured Europe the perpetrators were born. Noting the half million Hungarian Jews who died, he recalled the Hungarians who fought to save others.
Peres continued, "The State of Israel of today is not only the only possible memorial standing for our perished brothers and sisters. Israel is a deterrence against any attempt at another Holocaust. A strong Israel is our response to the horrors of anti-semitism but it does not excuse the rest of the world from its responsibility to prevent this disease from returning to their own homes." He added, "The State of Israel is not a passing event; it is based upon 4000 years of life. The history of the Jewish people contains no lack of anguish but it is filled with hope – the eternity of Israel will not lie. Israel seeks peace. Between people and between nations. Peace with nations near and far. We pursue peace because we pursue justice for all regardless of origin, regardless of faith. The right to peace is the right to life. I say with confidence – we are strong enough to repel dangers, we should not be scared of threats and we must not give up on peace."