April 13, 2018
In Blog News
Apart for the quarter century since the rebellion, the ceremony was also held in commemoration of 75 years since the founding of the kibbutz.
Several key events in the history of the Jewish people were noted during the ceremony, starting with Kristallnacht in 1938 and ending with the declaration of the State of Israel’s independence—or “From the night of darkness to the night of decision,” as organizers put it.
Lieberman’s speech at the ceremony was directed at the inhabitants of Gaza, Hamas chiefly among them. “The spirit, hope and faith that have accompanied us during the Holocaust and the War of Independence are stronger than all of our enemies and those who hate us,” he declared.
“You don’t stand a chance. Change course and begin thinking not about how to annihilate the State of Israel, but how to exist alongside it. That would be far better—first and foremost for you, but also for the people of Israel and for the entire region,” he advised.
Lieberman then continued in saying, “This ceremony in which we are present today, in a free State of Israel soon to celebrate its 70th Independence Day, must have seemed a fever, irrational dream to the prisoners of the Warsaw Ghetto 75 years ago.”
The defense minister, born in the Soviet Union, went on to recount tales of his father, who served in the Red Army during the war and who was captured by Germans, and of his uncle, who was wounded and died.
“They taught me that the Jewish people’s heroism as it was expressed then,” he said—referring to the rebellion in the ghetto—”was not contained to taking up arms. Heroism was the very will to fight—with or without improvised arms—against the vicious and well-oiled Nazi extermination machine.”
He continued, “Heroism was the ability to maintain humanity when the enemy opposite has lost all human and moral virtues and was brainwashed by racist, anti-Semitic propaganda.
“That was the heroism of the Jewish fighters in the Warsaw Ghetto—certainly when they decided to rebel, mere hundreds facing thousands of jackboots. That is true victory. The victory of the spirit, the spirit that accompanies us to this day—and which we are obliged to pass through the generations.”
Aiming his remarks at Hamas next, Lieberman said, “Despite the fact the State of Israel extended its hand in peace to all of its neighbors, signed peace accords with Egypt and Jordan and left the Gaza Strip to the last millimeter—in accordance with the 1967 lines—all we have heard from the disengagement and until now from the strip’s leaders was threats to annihilate Israel, to return refugees to Tel Aviv, Haifa and Safed and Code Red alarms as a result of rocket fire at the south.”
“We have the wherewithal, ability and the right to defend ourselves,” the defense minister concluded.
Treasury Minister Kahlon said during his own speech that, “Seventy-three years have passed since the worst nightmare humanity has ever known ended. Seventy-three years since the smoke from chimneystacks rose over the death camps. Seventy-three years since children, women and infants were slaughtered strictly for being Jews.
“Seventy-three years and evil, cruelty and anti-Semitism are still with us, unfortunately. They change forms, sometimes appearing as a pitiless despot, others a death-dealing dictatorship, and yet another as a group seeking to destroy, murder and sow destruction in the name of religion.
“The entire world has an obligation that this tragedy that befell our people, second to none in history, does not happen again.”
“Social cohesion, compassion, humanity, the ability to stand alongside the weak are all dramatic, significant components of our national strength,” the finance minister said.