Ya'alon: Seventy Years Later, We Now Face Iran

Defense Minister Moshe Ya'alon speaks on Holocaust Memorial Day on the Holocaust, the State of Israel - and how Iran are the new Nazis.

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Hezki Baruch and Tova Dvorin,

Moshe Ya'alon
Moshe Ya'alon
Flash 90

The Holocaust serves as a testament to Jewish strength  - but also as a reminder of the obligation to support survivors, Defense Minister Moshe Ya'alon stated Wednesday night. 

"An outsider can never understand the terror and persecution, the loss of separation from parents and family that will never be seen again, and the suffering of those who, by good grace, are still alive, children and adults alike, who have survived the ultimate cruelty of the human race," he stated, at a Holocaust Remembrance Day ceremony in Masua. 

Ya'alon said that seventy years after the end of the war and the terrible disaster for the Jewish people, "We are here, the independent state for the Jewish people. We are a country to be proud of, a country that is the home of every Jew, a country which has to be a beacon of morals and values - because of what we went through seventy years ago." 

"The state must fight relentlessly against racism and violence," he continued, as well as "discrimination against women and minorities. The state must ensure the equal rights and opportunities for each and every one, regardless of religion, race, gender or sexual orientation."

Ya'alon urged Israel as well to be a "state which is compassionate and protective for the weak in society, the elderly, for those less fortunate than themselves" and stressed that it is obligated to ensure that Holocaust survivors that live in dignity. 

Meanwhile, he said, the world has not changed overly much.  

"Seventy years later, unfortunately, there are still those plotting to harm us, and openly call to destroy us - both [Jews] who live here, and Jews around the world - and even today, in 2015, we experience hate crimes and anti-Semitism," he lamented. "They are trying to do so in many different ways, with an unrestrained hatred, but also with the clear knowledge that we know to fight back."

Ya'alon also addressed the recent flurry of activity regarding a draft agreement with Iran. 

"Seventy years later, a few thousand miles from here stands a greedy leader who is dripping with blood and hostility, which calls even now, openly and without fear, to wipe Israel off the map," he warned, adding that Iran "will not hesitate to develop nuclear weapons and will not hesitate to carry out its plans [against Israel]."  

"Seventy years later, and the world allows this regime to enter the front door of the family of nations, instead of learning from the past and condemning it and its ways," he continued. 

Ya'alon urged world powers that it's not too late to retract the agreement, and protect Israel - and the world at large - in the process. 

"I stand here as defense minister of Israel, the son of Batya Zilber of blessed memory, a Holocaust survivor who has built her life in Israel despite the difficult experiences that have become a part of it and the agonizing loss which accompanied her to her last day, the loss of all her immediate family," he said. "I stand here and promise you that we will do everything to maintain the continued prosperity and success of the Jewish people and the continued prosperity and success of the State of Israel."

"Our hand is extended in peace to the Palestinians and to the nations of the region, and I say it loud and clear: your hand will not be left hanging if you [also] extend it for peace," he continued. "But know that we will not allow anyone to deceive us and hurt us."

"Seventy years later we are here, the independent state of Israel, the state of the Jewish people, and we are still climbing mountains and conquering new heights - but we always look back and never forget."