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Yad Vashem hosts annual symposium for worldwide diplomatic corps 

"The echoes of Oct. 7 remind that 'Never Again' is a commandment we must fulfill and not just an empty cliché," said Yad Vashem chairman Dani Dayan.

Visitors at Yad Vashem in Jerusalem ahead of Israel's Holocaust Remembrance Day on April 16, 2023. Photo by Yonatan Sindel/Flash90.
Visitors at Yad Vashem in Jerusalem ahead of Israel's Holocaust Remembrance Day on April 16, 2023. Photo by Yonatan Sindel/Flash90.

Yad Vashem, the World Holocaust Remembrance Center in Jerusalem, hosted on Thursday its annual symposium for the international diplomatic corps serving in Israel. Yad Vashem Directorate chairman Dani Dayan, Yad Vashem Council chairman Rabbi Israel Meir Lau and Israeli Foreign Minister Israel Katz participated in the event together with more than 65 ambassadors.

“Each year on Passover, Jews worldwide ask, ‘Why is this night different from all other nights?'” Dayan related to the ambassadors. “This year’s International Holocaust Remembrance Day [on Saturday], in the wake of the attack by Hamas on Oct. 7, we ask why is this Holocaust Remembrance Day unlike any other? The Holocaust does not define Jews but its impact on the Jewish psyche is profound. The echoes of Oct. 7 remind us that ‘Never Again’ is a commandment we must fulfill and not just an empty cliché. As we approach the 80th anniversary of liberation, Holocaust remembrance and education remain essential to creating a more just society.” 

Over the past week, Dayan visited Brussels, where he discussed the importance of Shoah remembrance with the president of the European Commission Ursula von der Leyen, vice president of the European Commission Margaritis Schinas and president of the European Parliament Roberta Metsola.

In his meeting with Von der Leyen, Dayan expressed his grave concerns about the exponential rise in antisemitism worldwide and the need for action. “Antisemitism is not just an issue for the Jewish people alone. It must be on top of the global agenda, for if left unchecked it will eventually affect Europe and the world in general and therefore requires immediate and decisive action,” he said.

In Brussels, Dayan also participated in a European Union Working Group meeting to address the implementation of the E.U. Strategy on Combating Antisemitism and fostering Jewish life on the continent. He also attended an event headed by the Deputy Secretary General of NATO Mircea Geoană. In addition, Dayan visited Krakow to participate in a conference organized by the European Jewish Association in cooperation with Yad Vashem.

On Thursday, an exhibition titled “Bigger Than Me” debuted at Yad Vashem. It features six oil paintings and some 10 additional sketches by Israeli artist Shai Azoulay. It has been given added significance following the Hamas massacre, the worst single-day attack on the Jewish people since World War II and the Holocaust.

The exhibition, created over the last month and a half, is the first time Yad Vashem is displaying artwork that was not created by Holocaust victims or survivors and does not consist of art that depicts the atrocities of the Shoah.

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