Holocaust Forum begins
'A historic gathering for all of humanity'

President's Residence hosts world leaders for event marking International Holocaust Memorial Day.

Arutz Sheva Staff ,

World leaders in Jerusalem
World leaders in Jerusalem
Kobi Gidon / GPO

The President's Residence hosted an official reception Wednesday evening with heads of state and delegates from around the world who have responded to President Reuben Rivlin's invitation to the International Holocaust Forum.

The event is also attended by Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu, Blue and White Chairman Benny Gantz, Chief Justice of the Supreme Court Esther Hayut, IDF Chief of Staff Aviv Kochavi, Knesset Speaker Yuli Edelstein, Foreign Minister Yisrael Katz and others.

Speaking at the reception, Rivlin said: "This is a historic gathering, not only for the State of Israel and the Jewish people, but for all of humanity. Tonight as we remember the victims of the Holocaust, and World War II, we also commemorate the triumph of freedom and human dignity."

"I hope and pray that out of this room has come a uniform message for every country in the world that world leaders stand united in the fight against racism, anti-Semitism and extremism, in defending democracy and democratic values. This is the order of the day. This is our challenge," he added.

King Felipe VI called the gathering “a remarkable assembly of world leaders committed to memory, to a just cause and to a moral obligation."

"Seventy-five years later, the world does not forget. The world still remembers.

Quoting Maimonides, a medieval Jewish sage who was born in Spain, King Felipe said that "all great evils which men cause each other originate in ignorance."

"We have come today, Mr. President, not only to show our respect for survivors and our repugnance for what happened ─ not that long ago ─ in Auschwitz-Birkenau and many other places.

"We are also here ─ perhaps primarily ─ to show our unyielding commitment in bringing all the necessary efforts of our respective countries in order to fight the ignorant intolerance, hatred and the total lack of human empathy that permitted and gave birth to the Holocaust. Because preventing those civilizational sicknesses, is a collective but also an individual responsibility. There is no room for indifference in the presence of racism, xenophobia, hate speech and antisemitism.

"Disturbingly, we are currently witnessing a surge of hideous attacks on Jews in several parts of the world. So many times in history, animosity against Jews has shamefully proven to be a symptom and a crude example of intolerance and aversion towards the different others.

"Having a precious, rich and complex Jewish past and a vibrant Jewish community, Spain decided to create a solid framework of rules and initiatives to fight relentlessly against antisemitism and every form of xenophobia and racism. There are, of course, many more Nations ─ both present here and others ─ that are making similar efforts and progress; but, while I remain optimistic, I know ─ we all know ─ that we will always need to persevere together so that those words we have repeated so many times, “Never again,” remain our guiding and unwithering principle," King Felipe concluded.



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