A portion of the incredibly moving words of the IDF Chief of the General Staff, speaking at Auschwitz today to "The March of the Living":
"Here, on this cursed land , saturated with the blood of our brothers and sisters, descendants of the Jewish nation;
"Here, in the Auschwitz-Birkenau Death Camp , the most evil place on the face of the planet, where our people, whose only crime was being Jewish, were tortured and murdered in gas chambers and crematoria;
"Here, in the place where the Nazi oppressor reduced our humanity to serial numbers – no more names, no more faces, no identity – all that remained was a number branded on the forearm; Here in this most dreadful place, I stand on Holocaust Martyrs and Heroes Remembrance Day, as the commander of the Israel Defense Forces.
"With hundreds of Witnesses in Uniform by my side – joining the thousands of representatives of the IDF who come here every year, commanders of the ground forces, the Air Force and the Navy – the defending force of the Jewish people, reborn in its land – with tight lips, a coarse voice and tears in my eyes, yet still standing tall – I salute to the ashes of our people and vow: ‘Never Again.’
"We, soldiers of the IDF, emissaries of a country and of a nation, stand here today wearing the IDF uniform and carrying the flag of the State of Israel with pride in the name of the tens of thousands of the IDF warriors and commanders. We consider ourselves the executor of the last will and testament, the dream and the silent prayer of our six million Jewish brothers and sisters whose existence was brutally expunged by the Nazi oppressor.
"We remember, and will never forget, that from the killing and the destruction, from the ashes and the despair, we have risen to establish not only the Jewish State, but the military force that will forever provide security for the Jewish people, protecting it from any future attempts of persecution, torture and destruction.
"These days, after sixty years of independence , the existence of an independent Jewish state is not a fact that should be taken for granted…We have learned our lesson. We take threats of leaders calling for the destruction of Israel very seriously.
"From this sense of deep responsibility for our continued existence as a people in our land and for the continuity of our heritage, we have no choice but to continue the struggle. Since we are fighting for our very existence, we cannot afford to grow weary or be deterred in our struggle.
"…Here on this cursed ground, from which still cry the voices of our slain brothers, and as commander of the Israel Defense Forces of the state of the Jewish people, I salute our six million brothers and sisters, who have been persecuted, deported, tortured and cruelly murdered, and swear that ‘Jewish blood shall never again be spilled in vain!’
"Blessed be the memory of those who perished in the Holocaust!"
To which I say Amen V’Amen!
How does one follow this with news? Briefs only, with more after Shabbat…
Most pertinent: Gov’t Minister Shaul Mofaz (Kadima), charged with handling strategic dialogue, is in the US, meeting with key officials on the matter of the urgency of stopping Iran’s nuclear progress. At a talk at Yale he said, "Israel will not tolerate a nuclear Iran…all is fair in efforts to make sure this doesn’t happen."
Amen to this as well!
Mofaz warned that time is running out — with the possibility that Iran could have a nuclear weapon in a year — and that appeasement is not a successful policy.
There are hints, but no official statement, that the government might accept the truce proposal advanced by Egypt, now that the other terrorists groups have reportedly agreed to participate. Hints that it would also help get Shalit released. (And, forgive me for my terrible cynicism, but I wonder about officials seeing a way out of what has been threatened regarding a major terror attack on Yom Haatzmaut and breaking through the fence.)
Bad news if the truce were to happen . But we’re in the "wait and see" mode right now.
Hamas officials want this so badly, it’s obvious they’re hurting. Do we move from squeezing this entity, directed by Iran and sworn to destroy us, to a situation that allows it to strengthen in preparation for the day when we’ll again be hit? Only if we have a very very limited horizon and are led by officials who don’t care what happens the day after tomorrow — officials prepared to overrule the advice of the IDF — is this possible.
One of those officials — Ehud Olmert, to be specific — is about to be interrogated by the police. How nice it would be if this interrogation actually came to something. The reason for this is very "hush-hush" and there is a sense of urgency about the matter. Attorney General Mofaz signed the order permitting the interrogation.
Henrietta Fore, administrator of the US AID, is in London for a meeting of international donors who have pledged $7.4 billion to the Palestinians over the next three years. She was asked if the US would be receptive to a request from the PA for additional funds to offset a budget shortfall, and she replied: "Yes..It’s important to support and back strong efforts of progress of people who are working for peaceful, prosperous solutions."
I did not make this up.
The IDF has announced an operation in which it targeted and hit Nafez Manur, terrorist who was responsible, among other things, for helping plan the Gilad Shalit kidnapping.