LAST night (Wednesday) Jews around the world marked Yom Hashoah, remembering the six million Jews who were murdered in the Holocaust.
The need to do so is more urgent than ever. Antisemitism and the kind of anti-Jewish rhetoric that allowed the Shoah to happen is on the rise worldwide. At the same time, the number of survivors – those who can tell the stories firsthand of where such hate can lead – are dwindling.
It behoves us to ensure that their stories are passed on, so that a tragedy such as the Holocaust is never repeated. Equally, we must memorialise those that were lost – mothers, fathers, sisters, brothers, children – so that their memories may live on long after the evil regime that extinguished their lives.
We remembered them, just a few days after we joined our fellow Australians to mark Anzac Day.
Many brave Australian troops fell in battle while fighting the evil Nazi regime that perpetrated the Holocaust. As Australians and as Jews, we honour their memory and thank them for their sacrifice, as we do all others who have fought for this country – a country that has given so much to us and to which we have given back; a country we are proud to be part of and call our home.
We also recognise the troops who fought the Ottomans in Palestine, paving the way for the establishment of the State of Israel. And then next Tuesday evening, we will pay tribute to those who have fallen in defence of Israel.
Once a mere dream, since Israel’s establishment in 1948 it has ensured and will continue to ensure that persecuted Jews around the world will always have a place to find refuge.
Even now it is taking in Ukrainians fleeing the destruction of their cities at the same time as it defends itself against yet another wave of Palestinian terror.
As our Israeli brethren mourn their fallen soldiers and victims of terror, we stand with them as we hope and pray that one day they will be able to enjoy peace and security as we do here in Australia.
A day later on Yom Ha’atzmaut, we join them in celebrating Israel’s remarkable achievements on its 74th birthday.
As proud Australians, and as proud Jews, we remember.