Israel comes to a standstill to mark Yom HaShoah and remember 6 million
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Israel comes to a standstill to mark Yom HaShoah and remember 6 million

Pedestrians stood in place, buses stopped on busy streets and cars pulled over with drivers standing at the side with their heads bowed - to mark Holocaust Remembrance Day

Israeli soldiers hold a wreath as Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, center, Israeli President Reuven Rivlin, center left, and other guests attend the opening ceremony of Israel's annual Holocaust Remembrance Day, at Yad Vashem, the Holocaust Memorial, in Jerusalem, Thursday, May 2, 2019. The somber day is also marked by ceremonies and memorials at schools and community centers. Restaurants and cafes close, and TV and radio stations play quiet music and Holocaust-themed programs. (Abir Sultan/Pool Photo via AP)
Israeli soldiers hold a wreath as Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, center, Israeli President Reuven Rivlin, center left, and other guests attend the opening ceremony of Israel's annual Holocaust Remembrance Day, at Yad Vashem, the Holocaust Memorial, in Jerusalem, Thursday, May 2, 2019. The somber day is also marked by ceremonies and memorials at schools and community centers. Restaurants and cafes close, and TV and radio stations play quiet music and Holocaust-themed programs. (Abir Sultan/Pool Photo via AP)

Israel came to a standstill on Thursday morning with a two-minute siren wailing across the country in remembrance of the six million Jewish victims of the Holocaust.

Pedestrians stood in place, buses stopped on busy streets and cars pulled over on major roads – their drivers standing on the roads with their heads bowed.

In homes and businesses, people stopped what they were doing to pay homage to the victims of the Nazi genocide, in which a third of the world’s Jews were annihilated.

A wreath-laying ceremony at the Yad Vashem memorial followed, with Israeli leaders and Holocaust survivors in attendance. Other ceremonies, prayers and musical performances took place in schools, community centres and army bases around the country.

The names of those who died in the genocide are typically read aloud in parliament throughout the day.

The annual remembrance is one of the most solemn on Israel’s calendar. Restaurants, cafes and places of entertainment shut down, and radio and TV programming are dedicated almost exclusively to documentaries about the Holocaust, interviews with survivors and sombre music.

The Israeli flag flew at half-mast.

Live- Holocaust Remembrance Day Siren

On Yom HaShoa, Israel’s Holocaust Remembrance Day, the entire country stops as a siren sounds throughout the entire country to commemorate the six million lives that we lost at the hands of Nazis.Watch traffic come at a standstill.

פורסם על ידי ‏‎StandWithUs‎‏ ב- יום רביעי, 1 במאי 2019

The Holocaust runs deep in Israeli public consciousness. The state was established in 1948, three years after the genocide ended with the conclusion of the Second World War, as a place of refuge for Jews across the world.

Hundreds of thousands of Holocaust survivors who lost their families fled there and made it their home.

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, Thursday, May 2, 2019. (AP Photo/Sebastian Scheiner)

According to the Hebrew calendar, Holocaust Remembrance Day marks the anniversary of the 1943 Warsaw Ghetto uprising – the most significant, yet doomed, act of Jewish resistance during the Holocaust that helped shape Israel’s national psyche, symbolising strength and the struggle for freedom.

The commemoration began on Wednesday night with a state ceremony at the national Holocaust memorial in which leaders voiced concerns about a rising tide of antisemitism worldwide.

People stand still as a two-minute siren sounds in in remembrance of the 6 million Jewish victims of the Holocaust on the Mediterranean sea beach front in Tel Aviv, Israel, Thursday, May 2, 2019. (AP Photo/Ariel Schalit)

President Reuven Rivlin touched on surging antisemitism in Europe, which he said “is once again rearing its head, fuelled by waves of immigration, economic crises and disillusionment with the political establishment”.

In veiled criticism of prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu, he urged the government to rethink its cultivation of alliances with nationalist parties in Europe who have antisemitic pasts.

Mr Netanyahu has come under fire for embracing a string of eastern European leaders who have lavished Israel with political support while promoting a distorted image of the Holocaust and seeking to diminish their culpability while making heroes out of anti-Soviet nationalists involved in the mass killing of Jews.

The PM also stressed the continued threat of antisemitic extremism. He said that the extreme right, extreme left and radical Islam agree on “one thing: their hatred of Jews”.

Israelis stand still next to their cars as a siren sounds in memory of victims of the Holocaust, in Tel Aviv, Israel, Thursday, May 2, 2019. Israel has come to a standstill as people stopped in their tracks for a two-minute siren that wailed across the country in remembrance of the Holocaust’s 6 million Jewish victims. (AP Photo/Sebastian Scheiner)
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