Israel honors foreign diplomats who saved Jews in Holocaust

PM Netanyahu at the new monument in memory of world diplomats who saved Jews during the Holocaust. (Haim Zach/GPO)

“In my people’s darkest hour, a few noble men and women bucked their superiors to save Jewish lives. Israel salutes them. We shall forever honor their memory,” Netanyahu stated.

By: World Israel News Staff and AP

Israel’s foreign ministry on Monday unveiled a monument honoring diplomats who saved Jews during the Holocaust.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who also serves as Israel’s Foreign Minister, dedicated the site for the 36 diplomats whom the Yad Vashem Holocaust memorial has recognized as “Righteous Among the Nations.”

The “Righteous Among the Nations” designation is a title bestowed upon gentiles who rescued Jews during the Holocaust. Israel has recognized over 26,500 such individuals. It’s the country’s highest honor given to non-Jews who risked their lives to save Jews during World War II.

The most famous was Swedish diplomat Raoul Wallenberg who is credited with helping to save at least 20,000 Jews before he mysteriously disappeared.

Captain Francis Foley of the United Kingdom and Ho Feng-Shan of China were also mentioned by Netanyahu.

The monument honors those who “acted by the dictate of their conscience, without regards for personal and professional consequence.”

“Six million of our brothers and sisters were slaughtered in the worst atrocity in history. And this is what makes the people who are honored here so exceptional. Because in the worst darkness that beset the Earth, they lit a candle of righteousness,” Netanyahu stated.

“These brave diplomats’ names are here in a prominent place in our Foreign Ministry, because these are the kind of people we ask our young diplomats to emulate. Men and women of boundless courage, men and women of the deepest moral character,” he noted.

“Many of them were castigated by their foreign ministries and for many of them their career came to a swift end. But they risked everything for the truth…Once they learned the truth, they risked everything for our common humanity, and for that, we and history will justly remember them as heroes,” Netanyahu added.

‘We Jews have learned to believe our enemies’

Netanyahu said the enduring lesson was that threats must always be confronted early, when there is time to nip them in the bud, possibility alluding to the existential threat Iran poses to the Jewish state.

“We Jews have learned to believe our enemies when they call for our annihilation. We’ve learned that we must be able to defend ourselves by ourselves against any potential threat. The State of Israel not only has internalized these lessons, it practices it…we are forever conscious of the danger to us and to the rest of mankind of those who want to exterminate us, ultimately they exterminate the world we all want to keep and cherish,” he warned.

“In my people’s darkest hour, a few noble men and women bucked their superiors to save Jewish lives. Israel salutes them. We shall forever honor their memory,” Netanyahu concluded.

Aryeh Savir :