Over 50 world leaders and foreign dignitaries arrive at midweek to mark the day and vow to fight against anti-Semitism.
By Batya Jerenberg, World Israel News
Security and traffic preparations have been finalized for the arrival in Israel at midweek of over four dozen heads of state and government who are expected in the Jewish State to mark the 75th anniversary of the liberation of the Auschwitz-Birkenau death camp in Poland from the Nazis.
Thousands of Israel Police, Border Police, and volunteers are slated to be mobilized to ensure that the delegations landing in Israel mostly on Wednesday will move smoothly and securely from Ben Gurion International Airport, near Tel Aviv, to Jerusalem.
Some delegations will be arriving earlier in the week and some on the day of the main event, Thursday. Notable arrivals on that day will include U.S. Vice President Mike Pence and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, together with a bipartisan Congressional representation.
Local flights which normally use Terminal 1 at the airport are being moved to the international Terminal 3, to make way for the special flights with dignitaries on board. Highway One, leading to Jerusalem, as well as many streets within the capital, will periodically be closed to allow the entourages to travel to their destinations with minimum delays.
The main event of the Fifth World Holocaust Forum will take place at Yad Vashem, The World Holocaust Remembrance Center, under the title “Remembering the Holocaust: Fighting Anti-Semitism.”
The event will mark International Holocaust Remembrance Day a little early, as the official date is January 27, the day the Soviet Red Army liberated Auschwitz-Birkenau, the largest and most infamous Nazi concentration and death camp. The objective is also to send a clear message that Jew hatred is an unacceptable phenomenon in today’s world, as well, say the organizers.
“Everyone is uniting around the message of fighting anti-Semitism,” Presidential Residence director-general Harel Tubi said.
“It shows that this is not just a problem for Jews and Israel, but one of the society in which it is developing; and therefore, when countries come here and show concern about this phenomenon,” they are telling their own people that action must be taken, Tubi added.
The number of world leaders who answered “yes” to Yad Vashem’s invitation, which was accompanied by a personal letter from President Reuven Rivlin, is unprecedented, according to Israel’s Foreign Ministry, which says that this will be “the biggest political event ever” in the State of Israel’s history.
Many of the delegations are headed by the country’s leaders, including Russian President Vladimir Putin and French President Emmanuel Macron.
Most European countries are sending either their presidents or prime ministers, while the EU as a whole will be represented by the presidents of the European Parliament and European Council. The kings of the Netherlands and Spain and Crown Prince Charles of Great Britain will add a touch of royalty to the ensemble, and the Pope is sending an envoy as well.