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Israel falls silent to remember the horrors of the Holocaust

Israelis stood in silence on Thursday as a two-minute siren wailed across the country in remembrance of the Holocaust’s six million Jewish victims.

Public buses and cars stopped on the streets and highways, and pedestrians stood in place in memory of those killed in the Nazi genocide.

The annual memorial is one of the most sombre days in the Israeli calendar, marking the anniversary of the 1943 Warsaw Ghetto uprising – the most significant act of Jewish resistance against Nazi Germany during the Holocaust.

The Holocaust is a keystone element of Israeli public consciousness. Israel was founded in 1948, three years after the end of World War II and the genocide. As a place of refuge for Jews across the world, hundreds of thousands of Holocaust survivors who had lost their homes and families fled there.

Starting at sundown on Wednesday, Israeli television and radio shifted over to Holocaust remembrance broadcasting, and restaurants and other entertainment shut down.

Fewer than 180,000 Holocaust survivors remain in Israel. President Reuven Rivlin said Wednesday in a speech at Yad Vashem, the world Holocaust remembrance centre, that 900 survivors died during the past year’s coronavirus pandemic.

Speaking at Wednesday’s memorial, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu urged world leaders not to renew a nuclear agreement with Iran, saying that ‘history has taught us that deals like this, with extremist regimes like this, are worth nothing.’

People stand for a moment of silence on main road at the entrance to Jerusalem as sirens sound throughout the country to mark Holocaust Remembrance Day in Jerusalem, Israel, 08 April 2021

People stand for a moment of silence on main road at the entrance to Jerusalem as sirens sound throughout the country to mark Holocaust Remembrance Day in Jerusalem, Israel, 08 April 2021

People stand for a moment of silence on main road at the entrance to Jerusalem as sirens sound throughout the country to mark Holocaust Remembrance Day in Jerusalem, Israel, 08 April 2021

People stand still as a two-minute siren marking the annual Israeli Holocaust Remembrance Day is heard in Tel Aviv, Israel April 8, 2021. Public buses and cars stopped on the streets and highways, and pedestrians stood in place in memory of those killed in the Nazi genocide. The annual memorial is one of the most somber days in the Israeli calendar

People stand still as a two-minute siren marking the annual Israeli Holocaust Remembrance Day is heard in Tel Aviv, Israel April 8, 2021. Public buses and cars stopped on the streets and highways, and pedestrians stood in place in memory of those killed in the Nazi genocide. The annual memorial is one of the most somber days in the Israeli calendar

People stand still as a two-minute siren marking the annual Israeli Holocaust Remembrance Day is heard in Tel Aviv, Israel April 8, 2021. Public buses and cars stopped on the streets and highways, and pedestrians stood in place in memory of those killed in the Nazi genocide. The annual memorial is one of the most somber days in the Israeli calendar

A man covered in an Israeli flag stands still as a two-minute siren marking the annual Israeli Holocaust Remembrance Day is heard in Jerusalem April 8, 2021. The day marks the anniversary of the 1943 Warsaw Ghetto uprising - the most significant act of Jewish resistance against Nazi Germany during the Holocaust

A man covered in an Israeli flag stands still as a two-minute siren marking the annual Israeli Holocaust Remembrance Day is heard in Jerusalem April 8, 2021. The day marks the anniversary of the 1943 Warsaw Ghetto uprising - the most significant act of Jewish resistance against Nazi Germany during the Holocaust

A man covered in an Israeli flag stands still as a two-minute siren marking the annual Israeli Holocaust Remembrance Day is heard in Jerusalem April 8, 2021. The day marks the anniversary of the 1943 Warsaw Ghetto uprising – the most significant act of Jewish resistance against Nazi Germany during the Holocaust

People stand still as a two-minute siren marking the annual Israeli Holocaust Remembrance Day is heard in Ashkelon, Israel April 8, 2021

People stand still as a two-minute siren marking the annual Israeli Holocaust Remembrance Day is heard in Ashkelon, Israel April 8, 2021

People stand still as a two-minute siren marking the annual Israeli Holocaust Remembrance Day is heard in Ashkelon, Israel April 8, 2021

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, front left, attends a wreath-laying ceremony marking the Holocaust Remembrance Day at Warsaw Ghetto Square at Yad Vashem, the world Holocaust remembrance centre in Jerusalem Thursday, April 8, 2021

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, front left, attends a wreath-laying ceremony marking the Holocaust Remembrance Day at Warsaw Ghetto Square at Yad Vashem, the world Holocaust remembrance centre in Jerusalem Thursday, April 8, 2021

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, front left, attends a wreath-laying ceremony marking the Holocaust Remembrance Day at Warsaw Ghetto Square at Yad Vashem, the world Holocaust remembrance centre in Jerusalem Thursday, April 8, 2021

Holocaust survivors wearing face masks amid the coronavirus attend the yearly Holocaust Remembrance Day ceremony in Haifa, Israel, Thursday, April 8, 2021

Holocaust survivors wearing face masks amid the coronavirus attend the yearly Holocaust Remembrance Day ceremony in Haifa, Israel, Thursday, April 8, 2021

Holocaust survivors wearing face masks amid the coronavirus attend the yearly Holocaust Remembrance Day ceremony in Haifa, Israel, Thursday, April 8, 2021

Discussions are underway in Vienna aimed at rescuing the 2015 international agreement on Tehran’s nuclear programme.

‘An agreement with Iran that would pave the way for nuclear weapons … would in no way be binding on us,’ the prime minister said.

‘During the Holocaust, we had neither the capacity to defend ourselves nor the sovereignty to do so,’ Netanyahu added.

‘Today we have a state, a defence force and we have the full and natural right as a sovereign state of the Jewish people to defend ourselves against our enemies.’

Israel accuses its arch foe Iran of seeking to develop nuclear weapons. Tehran insists its nuclear programme is civilian in nature. 

People stand still as a two-minute siren marking the annual Israeli Holocaust Remembrance Day is heard in Jerusalem April 8, 2021. The Holocaust is a keystone element of Israeli public consciousness

People stand still as a two-minute siren marking the annual Israeli Holocaust Remembrance Day is heard in Jerusalem April 8, 2021. The Holocaust is a keystone element of Israeli public consciousness

People stand still as a two-minute siren marking the annual Israeli Holocaust Remembrance Day is heard in Jerusalem April 8, 2021. The Holocaust is a keystone element of Israeli public consciousness

People stand still as a two-minute siren marking the annual Israeli Holocaust Remembrance Day is heard in Tel Aviv, Israel April 8, 2021. Israel was founded in 1948, three years after the end of World War II and the genocide

People stand still as a two-minute siren marking the annual Israeli Holocaust Remembrance Day is heard in Tel Aviv, Israel April 8, 2021. Israel was founded in 1948, three years after the end of World War II and the genocide

People stand still as a two-minute siren marking the annual Israeli Holocaust Remembrance Day is heard in Tel Aviv, Israel April 8, 2021. Israel was founded in 1948, three years after the end of World War II and the genocide

People stand still on a sea-front as a two-minute siren sounds in memory of victims of the Holocaust, in Tel Aviv (seen in the background), Israel, Thursday, April 8, 2021

People stand still on a sea-front as a two-minute siren sounds in memory of victims of the Holocaust, in Tel Aviv (seen in the background), Israel, Thursday, April 8, 2021

People stand still on a sea-front as a two-minute siren sounds in memory of victims of the Holocaust, in Tel Aviv (seen in the background), Israel, Thursday, April 8, 2021

A man stands at a memorial in-front of two wreaths as a two-minute siren marking the annual Israeli Holocaust Remembrance Day is heard in Ashkelon, Israel April 8, 2021. As a place of refuge for Jews across the world, hundreds of thousands of Holocaust survivors who had lost their homes and families fled there

A man stands at a memorial in-front of two wreaths as a two-minute siren marking the annual Israeli Holocaust Remembrance Day is heard in Ashkelon, Israel April 8, 2021. As a place of refuge for Jews across the world, hundreds of thousands of Holocaust survivors who had lost their homes and families fled there

A man stands at a memorial in-front of two wreaths as a two-minute siren marking the annual Israeli Holocaust Remembrance Day is heard in Ashkelon, Israel April 8, 2021. As a place of refuge for Jews across the world, hundreds of thousands of Holocaust survivors who had lost their homes and families fled there

People stand still as a two-minute siren marking the annual Israeli Holocaust Remembrance Day is heard in Ashkelon, Israel April 8, 2021

People stand still as a two-minute siren marking the annual Israeli Holocaust Remembrance Day is heard in Ashkelon, Israel April 8, 2021

People stand still as a two-minute siren marking the annual Israeli Holocaust Remembrance Day is heard in Ashkelon, Israel April 8, 2021

Starting at sundown on Wednesday, Israeli television and radio shifted over to Holocaust remembrance broadcasting, and restaurants and other entertainment shut down. Pictured: People stand still as a two-minute siren marking the annual Israeli Holocaust Remembrance Day is heard in Ashkelon, Israel April 8, 2021

Starting at sundown on Wednesday, Israeli television and radio shifted over to Holocaust remembrance broadcasting, and restaurants and other entertainment shut down. Pictured: People stand still as a two-minute siren marking the annual Israeli Holocaust Remembrance Day is heard in Ashkelon, Israel April 8, 2021

Starting at sundown on Wednesday, Israeli television and radio shifted over to Holocaust remembrance broadcasting, and restaurants and other entertainment shut down. Pictured: People stand still as a two-minute siren marking the annual Israeli Holocaust Remembrance Day is heard in Ashkelon, Israel April 8, 2021

Israelis pause by their vehicles in the main highway leading to Jerusalem on April 8, 2021 as sirens wail across Israel for two minutes marking the annual day of remembrance for the six million Jewish victims of the Nazi genocide

Israelis pause by their vehicles in the main highway leading to Jerusalem on April 8, 2021 as sirens wail across Israel for two minutes marking the annual day of remembrance for the six million Jewish victims of the Nazi genocide

Israelis pause by their vehicles in the main highway leading to Jerusalem on April 8, 2021 as sirens wail across Israel for two minutes marking the annual day of remembrance for the six million Jewish victims of the Nazi genocide

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and President Reuven Rivlin pay tribute during a wreath-laying ceremony marking Holocaust Remembrance Day at Warsaw Ghetto Square at Yad Vashem memorial in Jerusalem, April 8, 2021

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and President Reuven Rivlin pay tribute during a wreath-laying ceremony marking Holocaust Remembrance Day at Warsaw Ghetto Square at Yad Vashem memorial in Jerusalem, April 8, 2021

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and President Reuven Rivlin pay tribute during a wreath-laying ceremony marking Holocaust Remembrance Day at Warsaw Ghetto Square at Yad Vashem memorial in Jerusalem, April 8, 2021

Israelis observe a moment of silence in central Jerusalem along tram tracks as sirens sound throughout the country to mark Holocaust Remembrance Day in Jerusalem, Israel, 08 April 2021

Israelis observe a moment of silence in central Jerusalem along tram tracks as sirens sound throughout the country to mark Holocaust Remembrance Day in Jerusalem, Israel, 08 April 2021

Israelis observe a moment of silence in central Jerusalem along tram tracks as sirens sound throughout the country to mark Holocaust Remembrance Day in Jerusalem, Israel, 08 April 2021

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu attends a wreath-laying ceremony marking the Holocaust Remembrance Day at Warsaw Ghetto Square in Jerusalem's Yad Vashem memorial on April 8, 2021

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu attends a wreath-laying ceremony marking the Holocaust Remembrance Day at Warsaw Ghetto Square in Jerusalem's Yad Vashem memorial on April 8, 2021

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu attends a wreath-laying ceremony marking the Holocaust Remembrance Day at Warsaw Ghetto Square in Jerusalem’s Yad Vashem memorial on April 8, 2021

People stand still as a two-minute siren marking the annual Israeli Holocaust Remembrance Day is heard in Jerusalem April 8, 2021. Fewer than 180,000 Holocaust survivors remain in Israel

People stand still as a two-minute siren marking the annual Israeli Holocaust Remembrance Day is heard in Jerusalem April 8, 2021. Fewer than 180,000 Holocaust survivors remain in Israel

People stand still as a two-minute siren marking the annual Israeli Holocaust Remembrance Day is heard in Jerusalem April 8, 2021. Fewer than 180,000 Holocaust survivors remain in Israel

Israelis stand next to their cars as sirens mark a nationwide moment of silence in remembrance of the 6 million Jewish victims of the Holocaust, in Tel Aviv, Israel, Thursday, April 8, 2021

Israelis stand next to their cars as sirens mark a nationwide moment of silence in remembrance of the 6 million Jewish victims of the Holocaust, in Tel Aviv, Israel, Thursday, April 8, 2021

Israelis stand next to their cars as sirens mark a nationwide moment of silence in remembrance of the 6 million Jewish victims of the Holocaust, in Tel Aviv, Israel, Thursday, April 8, 2021

Israelis observe a moment of silence in central Jerusalem as sirens sound throughout the country to mark Holocaust Remembrance Day in Jerusalem, Israel, 08 April 2021, as Israel remembers the Jews who were exterminated at the hands of the Nazis during World War II

Israelis observe a moment of silence in central Jerusalem as sirens sound throughout the country to mark Holocaust Remembrance Day in Jerusalem, Israel, 08 April 2021, as Israel remembers the Jews who were exterminated at the hands of the Nazis during World War II

Israelis observe a moment of silence in central Jerusalem as sirens sound throughout the country to mark Holocaust Remembrance Day in Jerusalem, Israel, 08 April 2021, as Israel remembers the Jews who were exterminated at the hands of the Nazis during World War II

A woman holds a wreath at a ceremony marking the annual Holocaust Remembrance Day at Yad Vashem Holocaust Memorial in Jerusalem, on April 8, 2021

A woman holds a wreath at a ceremony marking the annual Holocaust Remembrance Day at Yad Vashem Holocaust Memorial in Jerusalem, on April 8, 2021

A woman holds a wreath at a ceremony marking the annual Holocaust Remembrance Day at Yad Vashem Holocaust Memorial in Jerusalem, on April 8, 2021

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