A Short History of Yad Vashem

Long before Holocaust memorials and museums sprang up in Europe and the U.S., Israel had Yad Vashem, which gets its name from a verse in the book of Isaiah. Elliot Jager tells the story of its creation and development:

The idea of a Zionist memorial to the victims of Hitler’s war against the Jews came to Mordechai Shenhavi (1900-1983) before anyone even grasped the horrifying scale of the Holocaust.

In August 1942, Shenhavi, a member of Kibbutz Beit Alfa in the Jezreel valley, had a terrifying dream. In it, he saw millions of Nazi victims marching toward Zion, carrying tombstones on their shoulders. Gripped by this vision, he struggled to persuade the pre-state Zionist institutions to take up the proposal. . . .

In a May 1945 article in Davar, a Hebrew-language newspaper and the powerful workers’-union mouthpiece, Shenhavi presented the nuts and bolts of his ideas for how the Holocaust should be memorialized. Finally, in August 1945, three months after World War II ended in Europe, delegates to the General Zionist Council meeting in London embraced his vision. . . .

How society treats Jewish people is often a reliable barometer for the moral state of humanity. . . . A small number of Christians actively tried to hide or help them escape. Most looked the other way. . . .

As time takes its toll on the last remaining survivors and witnesses—and as the enemies of the Jewish people brazenly deny that the Holocaust happened—Yad Vashem stands as an everlasting memorial, a beacon to light the way for mankind in a darkening world.

Read more at Israel My Glory

More about: History & Ideas, Holocaust, Holocaust remembrance, Israel, Righteous Among the Nations, Yad Vashem

Israel Just Sent Iran a Clear Message

Early Friday morning, Israel attacked military installations near the Iranian cities of Isfahan and nearby Natanz, the latter being one of the hubs of the country’s nuclear program. Jerusalem is not taking credit for the attack, and none of the details are too certain, but it seems that the attack involved multiple drones, likely launched from within Iran, as well as one or more missiles fired from Syrian or Iraqi airspace. Strikes on Syrian radar systems shortly beforehand probably helped make the attack possible, and there were reportedly strikes on Iraq as well.

Iran itself is downplaying the attack, but the S-300 air-defense batteries in Isfahan appear to have been destroyed or damaged. This is a sophisticated Russian-made system positioned to protect the Natanz nuclear installation. In other words, Israel has demonstrated that Iran’s best technology can’t protect the country’s skies from the IDF. As Yossi Kuperwasser puts it, the attack, combined with the response to the assault on April 13,

clarified to the Iranians that whereas we [Israelis] are not as vulnerable as they thought, they are more vulnerable than they thought. They have difficulty hitting us, but we have no difficulty hitting them.

Nobody knows exactly how the operation was carried out. . . . It is good that a question mark hovers over . . . what exactly Israel did. Let’s keep them wondering. It is good for deniability and good for keeping the enemy uncertain.

The fact that we chose targets that were in the vicinity of a major nuclear facility but were linked to the Iranian missile and air forces was a good message. It communicated that we can reach other targets as well but, as we don’t want escalation, we chose targets nearby that were involved in the attack against Israel. I think it sends the message that if we want to, we can send a stronger message. Israel is not seeking escalation at the moment.

Read more at Jewish Chronicle

More about: Iran, Israeli Security