"Israel Cannot Remain Indifferent in the Face of Genocide"

(Communicated by Foreign Ministry Spokesman)
13 April 1999

Foreign Ministry Director General Eytan Bentsur today (Tuesday) 13.4.99, for the first time, lead a delegation of the Foreign Ministry at the "March of the Living" at the site of the Auschwitz-Birkenau Concentration Camp in Poland. At the ceremony marking the end of the march, Bentsur said that at the end of the 20th century, Jewish self-awareness cannot be complete without knowledge of the Holocaust.

"Today we walked "The March of the Living" along the death route, and thus fulfilled the wishes of our mothers and fathers, brothers and sisters who walked here before us. It is the duty of every person to learn the terrible lesson of the Holocaust of the Jewish people, and a great duty also falls on all of us, especially the Jewish people, to do everything in our power to see to it that genocide shall not happen again. The State of Israel, which is the culmination of the Zionist dream, ‘the choice of life’ and sanctuary for the survivors, cannot stand aside or remain indifferent in the face of genocide, ethnic cleansing and similar acts based on racist, religious or other discrimination."

Turning to youths who participated in the march, Bentsur said, "In a few years, when the last of the Holocaust survivors are no longer among us, and when my generation too has finished its job, the historical responsibility will pass to you — the responsibility not to forget what happened to our people and to do everything to prevent another similar terrible tragedy happeneing to either the Jewish or other peoples."