Avner Shalev
Avner Shalev
Photo: Yad Veshem
Avner Shalev

Yad Vashem chairman to step down after 27 years

Avner Shalev, 81, who oversaw the museum through some of its most dramatic changes, has yet to name a successor to take over national Holocaust remembrance institution

Associated Press |
Published: 06.22.20 , 09:10
The chairman of the Yad Vashem Holocaust Museum and Memorial said Sunday he will be stepping down after 27 years.
  • Follow Ynetnews on Facebook and Twitter

  • Avner Shalev, 81, said in a letter to Yad Vashem employees that he made the decision to leave the position after nearly three decades following “thorough self-examination.” He said he was stepping down by the end of the year and gave no further details on his reasons for leaving.
    Avner Shalev Avner Shalev
    Avner Shalev
    (Photo: Yad Vashem)
    Shalev guided a period of dramatic transformation at one of the world’s foremost Holocaust remembrance institutions. During his tenure, the site expanded to include a sleek new museum, a centerpiece that draws hundreds of thousands of visitors a year, and the solemn Hall of Names, a collection of 4.8 million names of Holocaust victims, which is a mainstay during visits of foreign dignitaries to Israel.
    He also oversaw the creation of an international school for Holocaust studies and an institute for Holocaust research.
    According to his letter, a successor has not been designated.
    יד ושםיד ושם
    The Hall of Names in Yad Vashem
    (Photo: AFP)
    Yad Vashem is an almost sacred institution in Israel, where students, soldiers and company outings tour regularly and where the country holds its annual Holocaust remembrance day ceremony.
    Still, during Shalev’s term, it has weighed in on a number of controversies.
    In 2015, Yad Vashem challenged the accuracy of a claim by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu suggesting that a World War II-era Palestinian leader persuaded the Nazis to adopt their Final Solution to exterminate 6 million Jews.
    הנסיך צ'ארלס ויילס בפורום השואה העולמי ביד ושםהנסיך צ'ארלס ויילס בפורום השואה העולמי ביד ושם
    UK's Prince Charles speaking during the 2020 World Holocaust Forum
    (Photo: Mizmor Productions Ltd.)
    It lambasted an Israeli-Polish compromise over a Polish Holocaust hate speech law, saying a joint statement by the countries’ prime ministers contained “grave errors and deceptions” over Poland’s role in the Holocaust.
    It also came out against a government plan in 2018 to deport tens of thousands of African migrants, saying it saw the issue as a “national and international challenge that requires empathy, compassion and mercy.”
    “The experience of the Jewish people over generations heightens this obligation,” it said.

    Talkbacks for this article 0