"Remember what Amalek did unto thee by the way, when ye were come forth out of Egypt," this is the message that Education Minister Gideon Sa'ar wished to convey on the International Holocaust Remembrance Day. Sa'ar quoted the famous verse from Deuteronomy during a memorial ceremony that took place at the UNESCO headquarters in Paris on Wednesday.
Sa'ar said that "the universal commitment to prevent the repetition of the tragedy, which is unlike anything in the history of humanity, requires us to remember what happened on European soil in those days.
"The progress, the technology, the science did not stop the horror," he continued. "In large part, the opposite is true. Only the adherence to moral values will guarantee the prevention of atrocities and secure a better future for the human race. This kind of adherence requires the willingness to stand up to evil, to confront it, and sometimes also pay the price."
'Education will eradicate atrocities'
Sa'ar stated that education is the key to achieving moral existence.
"I am convinced that the more we learn and teach about what happened in those dark days – something that is happening more and more in many nations – we will be able to immunize against the moral dullness of senses, which is what allows for man-made atrocities," he said.
The education minister mentioned in his speech that the Jewish people are ancient and proud people, which has contributed spiritual, cultural and scientific treasures to humanity throughout history.
"We got to live, after 2,000 years of prosecution and murder, in a sovereign Jewish state," he said, and sent a message to those threatening Israel's security: "We swore – never again. The fulfillment of this vow requires us to never give up the right and obligation to protect our people with our own forces."
The French Education Minister Luc Chatel and UNESCO Director-General Irina Bokova spoke during the ceremony as well. Over the course of the evening Holocaust survivor Shlomo Venezia told his story, and Rabbi Raphael Cohen said Kaddish, and recited El Male Rahamim, a traditional memorial prayer.
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