IDF Chief of Staff Benny Gantz on Sunday called on the soldiers of the IDF to use the past in order to understand the nature of future wars.
In a special letter on the occasion of Yom Hashoah (Holocaust Memorial Day), Gantz called on the soldiers to remember those who perished and to use that memory to ensure the future of the people of Israel.
"More than six decades have passed since the most terrible tragedy our people have known," he wrote. “The Holocaust was like a bomb that cracked the time continuum of our existence as a nation. Even years later, we feel the echoes of that explosion and each and every one of us carries its traces."
"These fragments require us to remember what was lost, to protect what was built and to ensure the future,” added Gantz.
"We renew this oath today when we salute the victims,” he continued. “We renew this oath as we stand on guard and fight on behalf of those who could not fight the enemy who arose to destroy them, in the names of those who managed to escape the inferno and who used their remaining strength to take part in the establishment of a home for the Jewish people. We remember those who were lost in the valleys of death, in the ghettos, concentration camps and death marches and we will fight together for the country which they had dreamed, and for which they were fighting.”
Yom Hashoah began on Sunday evening with a special state ceremony at Yad Vashem.
In his speech at the ceremony, Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu compared the existential danger posed by Iran to Israel with the Nazi war machine, and vowed that a Holocaust will not take place again.
President Shimon Peres spoke at the same ceremony about the horrors of the massacre of Hungarian Jewry which took place 70 years ago today and of the destruction of the community in his home town of Vishneva.
President Peres also took the opportunity to address the dangers of the rise of extremism and the need to be vigilant against anti-Semitism across the world.
Gantz spoke at the ceremony as well, and said that the IDF is proof of the rebirth of the people of Israel.
"During the period when the Jews were struggling to survive, they sowed the seeds of hope and taught their comrades to act with boldness, which led them to rise and deal with the Nazis. The legacy they left is a lamp unto our feet," he said.