PM in Auschwitz: Remember Amalek

"I came here from Jerusalem to tell you – we will never forget... The lesson of the Holocaust is that we must be prepared to defend ourselves.”

Gil Ronen , | updated: 17:26

Netanyahu at Auschwitz
Netanyahu at Auschwitz
Israel news photo: screenshot, Channel 1

Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu gave a forceful speech interlaced with biblical quotations at the International Holocaust Remembrance Day at Auschwitz Wednesday afternoon, and sent a message to Iranian president Mahmoud Ahmedinejad as well.

After a short introduction in English Netanyahu switched over to Hebrew. He began his speech with the Aramaic words that open the Kaddish prayer – “yitgadal veyitkadash Shmeh Raba” – “may the name of G-d be grow great and be sanctified” - and said that the last words of many of the Jews who were murdered at Auschwitz were the call of “Shema Yisrael” – "Hear O Israel."

He then said that many of the slain must also have uttered another phrase before their death: “Remember what Amalek did to you – do not forget.”

"I came here from Jerusalem to tell you that we will never forget,” he said. “We will always remember what the Nazi Amalek did to us and we will not forget to be alert and ready when a new Amalek appears on the stage of history and threatens to destroy the Jews once again. And we will not make that mistake again, of taking the matter lightly and thinking that the threats are empty, or that the Holocaust denials are empty words. We will not forget and we will always remember to stand guard.”

Only the IDF guarantees survival
"The lesson of the Holocaust is that murderous evil must be stopped as early as possible when it is still in its early phases and cannot yet realize its intentions,” Netanyahu said, in a clear allusion to Iran's nuclear threats. “This lesson must be internalized by all the world's enlightened nations. We, the Jewish people, internalized it well, after losing one third of our nation on the blood-soaked earth of Europe. We learned that we must be prepared to defend ourselves. We have learned that the only guarantee for the survival of our nation is a strong Israel and its army – the Israel Defense Force. We learned that we must alert the nations of the world and be prepared to defend ourselves.”

“From this place I vow, as the head of the State of the Jews: never again will we let the machine of evil cut off the life of our nation. Never again.”  

There was some clapping of hands after the more forceful parts of Netanyahu's speech. As the television calera panned across the dignitaries' seats, Netanyahu's wife Sarah could be seen, stern faced and nodding in emphatic agreement with the speech.

While never mentioning Iran, Netanyahu's speech was undoubtedly meant to be understood as a vow that Israel would use force if it had to, to prevent Iran from building a nuclear weapon.