(Communicated by the Prime Minister’s Media Adviser)
Following are Acting Prime Minister Ehud Olmert’s remarks at the special Cabinet meeting today (Thursday), 26 January 2006, at Yad Vashem, in honor of International Holocaust Remembrance Day:
"We naturally chose to hold the meeting here at Yad Vashem in Jerusalem in order to underscore the Government’s commitment to the memory of our brothers and sisters who were murdered during the Holocaust by the Germans and their allies.
I would like to thank Yad Vashem Chairman Avner Shalev and everyone at Yad Vashem who is doing so much to enshrine the memory of the Holocaust.
We have just completed a short tour of the new Holocaust History Museum and I think that I can say on behalf of the entire Cabinet that it was a very difficult experience. We spent approximately 1.5 hours in an experience that detached us from the reality in which we live, in this awful memory and the relentless pictures from our collective memory, and in the pain that is an inseparable part of both our experience and our raison d’etre.
Minister Avraham Hirchson and other officials will brief us on the Government’s actions in the struggle against anti-Semitism. Afterward, we will establish a team to resume the exhibition in the Jewish pavilion at Auschwitz. This was initiated by Prime Minister Ariel Sharon when he visited the extermination camps on Holocaust Martyrs and Heroes Remembrance day last year and affixed a mezuzah to the doorpost of the Jewish pavilion.
From this year, International Holocaust Remembrance Day will be marked annually in most countries around the world. This is the result of an Israeli initiative that was approved by great majority of the United Nations General Assembly.
I hope that this step will lead to the awareness of the Holocaust being instilled in many publics around the world, which for years tried to evade the need to deal with the Holocaust in all its aspects. I also hope that this step will lead to a reduction in anti-Semitism and Holocaust-denial, which in recent years, to my regret, we have witnessed with concern."