President Shimon Peres, who spoke on Sunday evening at the memorial opening ceremony of Yom Hashoah (Holocaust Remembrance Day) at Yad Vashem, addressed the Iranian threat.
“Iran’s fanatic leadership is a danger to the entire world,” said Peres. “It is not only a threat to Israel. It is a threat to any household, anywhere. It is a real risk to the fate of humanity. The nations of the world have declared that they will not accept Iran’s acquiring of nuclear weapons. They now stand the test of their commitment.”
Peres stressed that “even after the Holocaust there is a regime whose leaders are still Holocaust deniers. It should arouse horror in anyone, and shock anyone with a conscience.”
Peres also spoke of the time period of the Holocaust and said that “We were alone, without our own state. The Allied bombers who passed over Auschwitz-Birkenau did not drop a single bomb on the mass murder facilities. The Holocaust determined that there is no substitute for us other than a home of our own.
“Today we have established our own house,” continued the President. “Today we have a great army that the world has learned to respect. We have a democratic government that knows how to defend itself properly and knows to seek peace as necessary. This is our answer to the enemy. Any enemy.
“This evening we are not alone. In our hearts live six million of our people. We remember their eyes. We are their voices.
“Before our tearful eyes we see the Jews in Majdanek who were taken out of the cabins early in the morning and, while the loudspeaker played dance music, they were shot in pits.
“Humming in our ears is the dreadful rattle of trains and transports to Treblinka, which contained our mothers, our fathers, grandfathers and grandmothers.
“We remember Babi Yar, Ponar, Bogdanovka, Jasenovac, Rumbula, and hundreds of other killing pits.”
Regarding the State of Israel, Peres said that “all citizens of Israel, regardless of religion and race know that Israel is, was and is committed to be, the most anti-racist country in the world. Israel is an historical memorial to Holocaust victims. It is a ground to achieve their dreams, the dreams of a half million children murdered before they tasted life. Children who were born here, free and standing upright, are fulfilling the dreams of the mothers who were murdered with their children in their arms.
“Israel will wake up tomorrow to a new day. Buses will travel. Men and women will go to work. Our soldiers will stand in their positions. Children will go to school. The memory will be preserved. The building and defense will intensify, along with our wonderful ability to hope.”
Peres concluded with the words in the book of 1 Samuel 15:29: “Netzakh Yisrael Lo Yeshaker (The Eternity of Israel will not lie), and man will win.”