On Monday, most of the Knesset will leave Israel for Poland. Members of Knesset plan to hold a Knesset session at the site of the Auschwitz-Birkenau death camp, where an estimated 1.1 million people were murdered during the Holocaust, in honor of International Holocaust Remembrance Day.
Among those who will be staying in Israel is MK Moshe Feiglin (Likud). Feiglin explained Sunday, in a post to Facebook, why he is choosing not to join the delegation.
He drew a parallel to the expulsion of Jews from Spain in the late 15th century. “When we were expelled from Spain, we swore that we would never again step foot on that cursed land, and for hundreds of years we kept our word,” he said.
There are benefits to visiting the sites where Jews were massacred in the Holocaust, he noted. However, he argued, they are outweighed by the detrimental effect of such trips.
“I have no doubt that there is some experience, at the entrance to the crematoria, that cannot be experienced unless you are there,” he said.
However, he continued, “There is some essential thing – far more important – that you lose, when you turn the memory into a ‘museum memory’ instead of something living that works within you, that influences your life and your relationship to the nation that murdered you.
“Because when I land in Poland, who will guard me? Who will be responsible for my security? Who will I trust? That is to say – what message am I sending to myself, and to those around me?
“I’m sending the message that what happened belongs to a different world, one that no longer exists. Like touring the pyramids. There’s no connection to the here and now,” he answered. “Now I trust the Polish people, now we are in a new moral reality. They aren’t responsible.”
Feiglin drew another parallel, to Tisha B’av, the day of mourning over the destruction of the First Temple, the destruction of the Second Temple, and other tragedies in Jewish history.
“On Tisha B’av I don’t go to museums – I fast. I turn memory into personal action – I, personally, am in mourning,” he wrote.
“There is no significance to remembering the Holocaust without taking that memory and making it personal,” he concluded.
MK Eliezer Moses (Yahadut Hatorah), who will be joining the delegation, explained recently why he has decided to take part despite his previous reluctance to visit Holocaust-era death camps.