Jerusalem (AFP) – Israelis came to a halt throughout the country Thursday to observe two minutes of solemn silence as a siren blared, marking the annual remembrance of the six million Jewish victims of the Holocaust.
Motorists exited their vehicles and students at schools stood in ceremonies beginning with the 10:00 am (0700 GMT) siren.
Outside shops and offices, Israelis stood still, many with heads bowed.
At a Wednesday night ceremony at Jerusalem’s Yad Vashem Holocaust memorial, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu spoke of the murderous Nazi aggression that was not sufficiently challenged by Western powers, comparing it to Iran.
“Today, too, there’s an extremist regime that’s threatening us, threatening the peace of the entire world,” Netanyahu said of Iran. “That regime explicitly declares that it intends on destroying us, the Jewish state.”
Holocaust survivors lit six torches at the Wednesday memorial to mark the six million Jews massacred by the Nazis during World War II.
A wreath-laying ceremony was meanwhile taking place at Yad Vashem with participation by dignitaries, survivors and delegations from throughout Israel.
An hour after the siren, members of the public were to recite names of Holocaust victims in the “Unto Every Person There Is A Name” ceremony at Yad Vashem as well as in the Israeli parliament, or Knesset.