President Reuven Rivlin on Wednesday called on world leaders to "leave the history of the Holocaust to the historians", hinting at an ongoing row between Poland and Russia over war-time narrative.
Rivlin welcomed dozens of world leaders at his official residence in Jerusalem to a gala dinner ahead of the Fifth International Holocaust Forum, which will be held on Thursday.
"This is a historical event, not just for Israel and the Jewish people, but for all of mankind," said Rivlin in his opening speech. "Tonight, as we remember the victims of the Holocaust and World War Two, we commemorate the victory of freedom and human dignity. Tomorrow we will gather at Yad Vashem, to remember and to promise - never again."
The president then called to end attempts of Holocaust-revisionism, taking a jibe at a statement made by Putin - who will be one of the key speakers - alleging that Poland bears some blame for the war and accused Poland's government of the time of anti-Semitism. Polish President Andrzej Duda decided to boycott the conference in response, saying he wasn't offered a chance to speak.
"Yad Vashem is the leading center for Holocaust research and education, guided by historians. Historical research should be left to historians. The role of political leaders is to shape the future," Rivlin said. "At a time when more and more survivors are leaving us, this gathering is an expression of our shared commitment to pass on the historical facts and lessons of the Shoah to the next generations."
Honored guests - the future lies within the decisions we make, especially those we initiate together, as countries and as nations."
I hope and pray that a shared message will go out of this room to every country in the world, that its leaders stand united against racism, anti-Semitism and extremism, in the defense of democracy and its values. This is the time to act. It is our challenge and our choice."
Many Israeli officials attended the event; including Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, Blue & White party leader Benny Gantz, Chief Justice Esther Hayut, IDF Chief of Staff Aviv Kochavi and Knesset Speaker Yuli Edelstein among others.
*Gilad Cohen contributed to this report*
First published: 21:16 , 01.22.20