(January 26, 2022 / JNS) In his first appearance before an exclusively Christian audience as the new chairman of Yad Vashem, Dani Dayan this week urged the Christian world to turn International Holocaust Remembrance Day every Jan. 27 into a special day to reflect on the Holocaust, honor its victims, pray and fight modern-day anti-Semitism.
“For each decent person in the world, Jan. 27 should not be a regular day. Jan. 27 should be a day of reflection, … a day of prayer, … a day of meditation on how to honor the victims, how to improve combating anti-Semitism, and how to strengthen the relationship with the Jewish people and the State of Israel,” said Dayan. “All the things I said are good 365 days per year, but Jan. 27 now has a special significance. So, I call upon all our viewers, when they wake up on Jan. 27, don’t make it a regular day.”
Dayan appeared on Tuesday as part of the annual Envision leadership conference organized by the International Christian Embassy Jerusalem (ICEJ), which this year brought together nearly 1,000 Christian pastors and ministry leaders from more than 50 nations for a month-long online event.
In 2006, Yad Vashem entered a special partnership with the ICEJ to open outreach to the Christian world by launching the “Christian Friends of Yad Vashem” initiative.
For that cooperative effort, the ICEJ organizes an annual conference during the week of Jan. 27 that aims to better educate Christian pastors and ministry leaders on the Holocaust, in addition to the need to stand with Israel. Because of coronavirus travel restrictions, this year’s conference was made a fully online streaming event, with nearly 1,000 pastors and ministry leaders from around the world taking part.
In his live-streamed interview with Jürgen Bühler, president of the ICEJ, Dayan said: “We extremely cherish our friendship with the Christian world, with you personally and with your embassy. For us, it is a source really of inspiration and encourages us very much knowing that we have partners in our mission.”
He added, “I think that Yad Vashem should be open and receive with open arms every person of goodwill that wants really to come here to learn and to understand and to mourn, and to identify with the plight of the Jewish people.”
“I can absolutely agree to that,” responded Bühler. “The fact that I’m here now for 27 years in Israel, to a very large degree, I owe to my first visit at Yad Vashem. Visiting the exhibition to see what Christians, what Germans did to the Jewish people—that really touched my heart in an incredible way.”
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