President Shimon Peres issued a special statement in honor of International Holocaust Remembrance Day Monday, citing the universal value of human life.
"The Holocaust is a great warning to us all," he stated. "We shall never forget our sisters and brothers. We have to ensure that it is not repeated and to ensure that we never go back to the days when humans behaved as beasts. Forgetfulness is a menace, we must remember and remember to love and respect everyone no matter the color of their skin or the origin of their birth."
Peres cited Jewish tradition and heritage as the source for the value of universal human rights. "Moses taught us that every human being was made in the image of the Lord, no-one has the right to take that away," he said.
"We have a duty to remember the past but also to improve the future," Peres continued. "This is not just a memorial day but a call to us all to move ahead, never forgetting the past but never losing hope in the future. Let us not be satisfied by condemning the Holocaust but rather join our hearts and hands to ensure that we live in a world where another Holocaust is impossible. Let God remind us of this duty, this call to remember and to hope."
Peres has a personal connection to the Holocaust; in 2012, he revealed in a Holocaust Memorial Day speech that he found out after the Second World War that his former hometown, Wieszniev, had been destroyed.