Israelis stand silent on Holocaust Day

Public buses and cars stopped on the streets and highways, and pedestrians stood in place in memory of those killed in the Nazi genocide.

The Holocaust is a keystone element of Israeli public consciousness.

Israel was founded in 1948, three years after the end of World War II and the genocide. As a place of refuge for Jews across the world, hundreds of thousands of Holocaust survivors who had lost their homes and families fled there.

Starting at sundown on Wednesday, Israeli television and radio shifted over to Holocaust remembrance broadcasting, and restaurants and other entertainment shut down.

Fewer than 180,000 Holocaust survivors remain in Israel. President Reuven Rivlin said on Wednesday in a speech at Yad Vashem, the world Holocaust remembrance centre, that 900 survivors died during the past year’s coronavirus pandemic.