It was the darkest chapter in world history, the smell of burnt flesh coming out of the ovens in Auschwitz, the unimaginable horrors, the experiments, the demonic evil force that tried to eradicate the Jewish people was stopped 75 years ago.
Jews crawled out of the camps and made their way home to the nation that God had promised them, a nation given in an eternal covenant.
A nation where kings and prophets walked. A nation where the Bible comes alive filled with thousands of years of Jewish presence and history.
Today, Israel is one of the strongest and most powerful nations in the world. How did that happen in such a short amount of time?
On top of that, Israel is such a help and blessing to the world, always sending response teams to help when disasters strike around the world, and is a world leader with the most incredible inventions that make all of our lives so much easier.
It’s nothing short of a miracle, and the Jewish people are home to stay.
This week, this tiny nation that became a super power is hosting the biggest event ever.
At the invitation of the President of the State of Israel, more than 46 members of royalty, presidents, prime ministers and parliamentary leaders will attend the Fifth World Holocaust Forum, entitled “Remembering the Holocaust, Fighting Antisemitism”.
The Fifth World Holocaust Forum, organized by the World Holocaust Forum Foundation, in cooperation with Yad Vashem, the World Holocaust Remembrance Center, will take place on 23 January 2020 at Warsaw Ghetto Square in Yad Vashem, Jerusalem. Marking the 75th anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz-Birkenau, and the UN-sanctioned International Holocaust Remembrance Day.
Israel will welcome to the country 4 kings, 25 Presidents, many Prime Ministers and other leaders (the list of attendees is not final yet) every country that was under the Nazi occupation, every country that was an allied power plus Germany was invited for this historic event.
The guest list includes among others: Russian President Vladimir Putin, French President Emanuel Macron, Australian Governor-General David Hurley and the heir apparent to the British throne, Prince Charles, this handful of leaders mentioned here will also use their time in Israel to meet with Abu Mazen, I’ll write another blog about that.
President Rivlin will hold the official reception and dinner for the heads of states and heads of delegations. Yesterday, I attended a press briefing at the president’s residence in Jerusalem where they were very busy setting up for that dinner party.
Some 250 invited guests will attend, and three special areas have been built for the honored guests. Over the last few days, large amounts of material have been delivered to the residence, including 150 steel and wooden beams, 400 m2 of flooring, 240 items of furniture and 800 candles, as well as hundreds of heaters as Israel is hit by a lot of rain and they are even talking about snow this week in Jerusalem.
President Rivlin, the official host of the event, will deliver remarks. In addition, His Majesty King Felipe VI of Spain will speak on behalf of the leaders, and Israel Prize laureate and Holocaust expert Professor Yehuda Bauer will speak.
This is truly making history. I don’t think it has ever happened that some of the most important people in the world are going to sit down and dine, sitting together at the same table. But Israel is making this happen even with the seating arrangements being quite the challenge with special requests from some of the leaders.
Awww to be a fly on the wall in that room, or to be a waiter, there will be 200 to serve at this dinner party.
During the week, the president will hold a series of bilateral meetings with visiting leaders including HRH The Prince of Wales, the President of the Russian Federation, the President of Germany, the President of France.
The following day, all of the leaders will make their way to Yad Vashem for the official ceremony.
The event program will open at 13:30 with an address by President of the State of Israel. Additional speakers include: Benjamin Netanyahu, Michael R. Pence, Vladimir Putin, Emmanuel Macron, Prince Charles, and President of Germany, Frank-Walter Steinmeier.
Holocaust survivor and Chairman of the Yad Vashem Council Rabbi Israel Meir Lau as well as Forum organizers – President of the World Holocaust Forum Foundation Dr. Moshe Kantor and Yad Vashem Chairman Avner Shalev – will also speak at the event.
Several short video clips and musical interludes performed by an international orchestra, conducted by world-renowned conductor Vladimir Spivakov and accompanied by an international choir.
At approximately 15:10, the Memorial Ceremony segment will begin. Holocaust survivors Rose Moskowitz from the United States and Colette Avital, Chairperson of the Center Organization of Holocaust Survivors in Israel will light a memorial torch, after which heads of delegations will commemorate the victims of the Holocaust by laying wreaths at the foot of the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising Monument in Warsaw Ghetto Square at Yad Vashem. Cantor Shai Abramson will recite the El Maleh Rahamim memorial prayer, followed by Holocaust survivor Naftali Deutsch who will say Kaddish, the mourner’s prayer.
The ceremony will conclude with a moment of silence and Israel’s national anthem, Hatikvah.
There are several thousand police officers called in to make sure all of this is taking place without any problems, the police have set up head quarters in the Convention Center, Benyamin Hauma which is perfect as extra security for the Vice President of The United states, Mike Pence who will be staying at a hotel right next door.
Many roads will be closed off when all of these motor cades will be moving around Jerusalem.
Ben Gurion airport will close terminal 1 to commercial planes so it’s only open to welcome VIP’s, this is a massive task for the airport and when these motorcades are traveling from the airport to hotels in Jerusalem, highway 1 will be closed.
This is all very exciting and this tiny little nation is stretched to the max to facilitate all of these leaders. Thousands of people are working around the clock, especially in the Foreign Ministry, the Presidents house, the police and security, airport and all the hotels where these leaders are staying are super busy, and the area around the King David hotel will be closed off for security reasons.
I have to applaud Israel and every single person that is involved in this. Who would have thought that the Jewish people, who Nazi Germany and other enemies have tried to eradicate down through history would one day be able to host such a huge event, and must I just say, doing so in the best way possible.
Just think about how small this country is, but because the Jewish nations survival depends on it, Israel has to be the best in the world in pretty much all areas and that is what we are seeing coming together this week.
Big shout out to all of you.
So for all of us living in Jerusalem, yes it will be a bit of a hassle with traffic being affected so much, but several of these leaders will be in Israel for the very first time and attending a Holocaust event and fighting anti-Semitism, lets pray they will be touched by this and bring something deep and meaningful back home.
This visit is about remembering the Holocaust, but yet several of these presidents and leaders at the same time will meet with Abu Mazen, the man that is paying terrorists to murder the Jews and even welcome all the Jewish blood spilled, a man that has denied the Holocaust.
The Palestinian Authority's daily newspaper printed an opinion piece calling on readers to carry out murders in Jerusalem to halt this event.
I have a lot more to say about all of this, a new blog is coming soon.
To all the world leaders, welcome to the land of The Bible, I hope you brought umbrellas, enjoy your stay in beautiful Israel, I hope you will go meet some Jewish people, do something besides your official schedule.
You will find they are the most friendly in the world, even with all the hate they have to face.
VP, Mike Pence, should you have 5 minute of free time in your busy schedule, I would be truly honored to meet you, Sir.