Page last updated at 16:39 GMT, Monday, 12 April 2010 17:39 UK

Israel mourns and remembers victims of the Holocaust

Motorists mark Holocaust memorial day
Israel still has over 207,000 survivors living there

Israel came to a halt as citizens marked Holocaust Remembrance Day, commemorating the murder of six million Jews by the Nazis during World War II.

Sirens rang out across the country bringing drivers to halt, and they stood by their cars for two minutes' silent reflection.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu used the occasion to warn against what he called a new threat to Jews from Iran.

There are more than 207,000 holocaust survivors living in Israel.

There are 63,000 fewer survivors remaining compared to two years ago, figures show.

On the front page of one of the country's leading circulation Hebrew daily newspaper, Yedioth Ahranoth, there was a black and white picture of a bearded polish man, covered in a prayer shawl, kneeling before two Nazi officers, clenching his fists.


It was a picture of the maternal grandfather of Meir Dagan, the head of Israel's spy agency Mossad, in the moment before he was executed by the Nazis. It comes from Mr Dagan's personal library.

Benjamin Netanyahu
Mr Netanyahu read out the names of family members killed in the Holocaust

"I see that photo every day and vow that a thing like that will not happen again," he said.

Mr Dagan's agency is widely believed to have been behind the assassination of a Hamas leader, Mahmoud al-Mabhouh, in Dubai. The UK government recently expelled a Mossad official in London because British passports had been cloned and used by the agents who carried out the killing.

At Jerusalem's Yad Vashem, the state memorial authority, President Shimon Peres and Mr Netanyahu joined other lawmakers and cabinet minister in reading out the names of family members killed in the Nazi death camps.

"If we have learned anything from the Holocaust, it is that we must not be silent or be deterred in the face of evil," Mr Netanyahu said.

"The world goes about its business as though its a fuss about nothing while Iran steps up its efforts to arm itself with nuclear weapons and threatens to wipe Israel off the map," Mr Netanyahu said.

The memorial authority is continuing with a project to name and give the stories of every Jew killed in Adolf Hitler's "final solution".

Television and radio stations gave their entire day's programming over to the Holocaust.

In hospitals treating the sick - including administering injections - halted during the two-minute-silence, news agency Agence France Presse reported.

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