Holocaust survivors
Holocaust survivorsYonatan Sindel/Flash 90

Orly Sivan is CEO of Aviv for the Holocaust Survivor's association.

The State of Israel was established as a national home for the Jewish people under the ideology – never again. This is the testament etched in the blood of six million Jews murdered by the Nazi regime, a testament carried on the backs of Holocaust survivors who endured the horrific ordeal from which they emerged, and chose to come to the Land of Israel.

They promised to themselves and their descendants that the country they established would be a safe haven for future generations of Jews, ensuring that on this holy land there would never again be a systematic murder of the Jewish people.

Today, approximately 150,000 Holocaust survivors live in Israel. They were persecuted as children, lost their families, lost their homes, yet survived, and arose to build new lives in Israel. Survivors fought in the War of Independence, partook in building the land, and established homes and families, planting roots for future generations.

On October 7th, memories of the past resurged as their flesh and bones were burned by the onslaught of Hamas. Our pledge to them, "never again," was shattered in the communities surrounding Gaza by predatory monsters seeking to murder any Jew in their path.

Since then, in twilight of their lives, Holocaust survivors once again face terror. They live with existential fears. Some have lost children, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren, others have lost their homes, or were displaced from them, and are now refugees in their own country. Many Holocaust survivors in Israel feel the threat of rocket barrages without an accessible and safe shelter that they can reach in time.

"I was born into bombings and dreamt of the Jewish state, and I will die under bombings in the Jewish state," one Holocaust survivor living today in profound anxiety shared. Another survivor, leaving his home on a kibbutz in the border communities, promised to return, saying, "I lost one home in the Holocaust; I will not give up on this one."

Currently, 1,894 Holocaust survivors from the south and north of the country are refugees, and have been for almost four months. It is incomprehensible. The thought that they may not be able to return home exacerbates how difficult this experience for them.

79 years since the end of World War II, Holocaust survivors are once again forced to search for refuge from those seeking to exterminate them. Again, they have to witness Jews being murdered because of their Jewishness. Again, they have lost their homes, but this time here, in Israel, the Jewish homeland.

While Holocaust survivors pray for the safe return of their children and grandchildren from the war or Hamas captivity, Israel is facing international scrutiny for war crimes. Holocaust survivors are not only refugees in their own country, but also citizens of a country now accused of an unthinkable charge of attempted genocide. We were forced into a war against those seeking to annihilate us, and we must win against their heinous plot, an exemplification of classic anti-Semitism that Holocaust survivors know all too well.

The global phenomenon we see today, the hatred of Jews and Israel, is an expression of Nazism that never disappeared, it only took on a new form. In the face of the Nazis attempting to exterminate us again, we draw strength and fortitude from the Holocaust survivors who rose from the ashes, body and soul intact, built a home for us, and rehabilitated themselves, successfully establishing families here in the Land of Israel.

They are the beacon we look to, the foundation of our resilience, and today, they are still our anchor. It is our duty to triumph in this war, to return them to their homes, guarantee them peace and security in their old age, and to fulfill their will – never again.

Despite the difficulties, challenges, and obstacles that sometimes seem impossible, our desire for life is stronger than anything, we have the patience to wait, and thankfully we have those to learn from on how to overcome. Then we will say – never again.