Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu spoke about his father-in-law Shmuel Ben-Artzi at the Knesset on Thursday for Holocaust Remembrance Day, in the "Unto Every Person There is a Name" ceremony commemorating the victims of the genocidal Nazi machine.
"My late father-in-law, Shmuel Ben-Artzi, left his family in Bilgoraj in Poland in 1933 and immigrated to Israel as an emissary of the Novardok Yeshiva," said Netanyahu. "He worked in orchards and thereby realized his dream of being a Hebrew pioneer."
"He was a teacher, educator and noted Tanakh scholar. He was invited by Israel's first Prime Minister, David Ben-Gurion, to participate in the Tanakh study circle he established. Shmuel was one of the few, perhaps the only one, to receive citations from both the Etzel and the Haganah," the prime minister added.
Noting that Ben-Artzi was a famous Hebrew writer and poet who won prizes for his poems about the Holocaust, Netanyahu went on to read a poem he wrote back in 1942 at the age of 26, entitled "To the Land of Moriah." Mount Moriah is another name for the Temple Mount.
Netanyahu read the poem:
"My father –
I did not know what had befallen him.
Was he still alive? In what place
there did he wander, pursued and threatened?
I am here alone going up Mt. Moriah.
Many generations are laid upon my back:
Broken pieces of burnt wood dripping anguish,
And in my eyes lightning-fire of thousands of ovens,
Into which thousands of murderers were not thrown;
a blade dripping blood and anguish in my heart.
G-d, give me a sign!
Do not send an angel and ram,
let no shofar sound my name!
The binding of thousands has not assuaged your wrath,
Even my coming up is for naught –
G-d, give me a sign!"
The prime minister continued by reading the names of relatives of his father-in-law who were murdered in the Holocaust.
"His father, Moshe Hahn, his father's wife Ita, his twin sister Yehudit, who was 24. His brothers Meir Hahn (18), Shimon Tzvi (16) and Aryeh Leib (13), and his little sister Feizele. His aunt Ma'tel Koenigstein, her son Hillel and her eldest daughter. His uncle Mendel, his wife and their two children.
"His uncle Avraham Tauber, his wife and their son and daughter. His aunt Rachel Tauber .and her three sons – Avraham, Yaakov and Shlomo, and their wives and children. His aunt Hinda and her husband Yehezkel. His aunt Hendel, her husband and their children. His aunt Paula and her two daughters.
"May their memories be blessed," concluded Netanyahu.