Daily Israel Report

Netanyahu's Holocaust Speech Devoted to Iran Threat

In hard hitting speech, Prime Minister says it is his duty to warn the people of Israel of existential danger.
By Gil Ronen
First Publish: 4/18/2012, 9:26 PM

Netanyahu at Yad Vashem
Netanyahu at Yad Vashem
Israel news photo: Flash 90

Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu delivered a hard hitting speech centering on the Iranian threat, in the central Holocaust Memorial Day ceremony at Yad Vashem Wednesday. Such a direct reference to current events and politics in the Holocaust Memorial is unusual.

"On this day, we must realize a supreme obligation, and this obligation is not just to remember the past but also to learn its lessons, and most importantly – to implement these lessons, in order to continue to safeguard our nation's future," said Netanyahu. "This is especially true in our generation, which again faces the call to destroy the Jewish nation."

Netanyahu took aim at unspecified critics who accuse him of spreading needless fear and panic. "I ask – have these people lost all faith in the people of Israel? Do they think that this nation, which overcame such great difficulties, does not have enough strength to overcome this new danger?"

Netanyahu stressed that the right way of facing danger is not by denying its existence. He reminded the audience that previous prime ministers did not hide the dangers facing Israel from the nation, in the periods before the wars in 1948 and 1967.

"I believe is our power to defend ourselves from those who seek to kill us," he said. "People who make light of the Iranian threat have learned nothing from the Holocaust. There were always people among us who preferred to mock people who said uncomfortable truths. They did so with [Zionist leader Ze'ev] Jabotinsky who warned the Jews of Poland of the approaching Holocaust."

"I will continue to tell the truth to the world – but first and foremost, to my nation.  The truth is that a nuclear armed Iran is an existential threat to the State of Israel and also a grave threat to the rest of the world," he said. "The memory of the Holocaust is not just a ceremonial matter. The memory of the Holocaust is a practical commandment to learn the lessons of the past in order to guarantee the foundations of the future. We will never bury our heads in the sand. The People of Israel lives and the Eternity of Israel shall not lie ."

Ze'ev Jabotinsky's leadership inspired the Herut movement, which later turned into Likud.