Shoah survivors angry after right-wing politician nominated to lead Yad Vashem

The latest Jewish News

Read this week’s digital edition

Click Here

Shoah survivors angry after right-wing politician nominated to lead Yad Vashem

Effi Eitam, a former MK who said Arab Israelis should not be allowed to serve in the Knesset, was branded 'unfit' for the role

Yad Vashem's Hall of Names
Yad Vashem's Hall of Names

Israeli Holocaust survivor organisations are calling the man nominated to lead the Yad Vashem Holocaust memorial and museum “unfit” for the job.

Effi Eitam, a former lawmaker who has said that Arab Israelis should not be allowed to serve in Israel’s parliament, is Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s choice for the role. He is being vetted by a parliamentary committee and a vote on his candidacy is imminent.

The head of the Centre of Organisations of Holocaust Survivors in Israel has sent a letter to Netanyahu and Zeev Elkin, a Cabinet minister involved in the decision, arguing against Eitam’s candidacy without mentioning him by name, Haaretz reported.

“We, who represent a wide spectrum of opinions, believe that the criteria for choosing a chairman must be professional and devoid of any political considerations,” Collette Avital wrote.

The chairman of the Israeli Association of Bergen-Belsen Survivors called Eitam “unfit” for the role.

“This is a job that requires someone who is familiar with the subject of the Holocaust and has a proven record of running an academic institution of the likes of Yad Vashem,” Shraga Milstein told Haaretz. “He is not a man who regards everyone as equal, which is a basic assumption for anyone running an institution like Yad Vashem.”

A member of the Israeli parliament from 2003 and 2009 and the former head of the now-defunct National Religious Party, Eitam, 68, has called Arab Israelis a “cancer” for society.

The current chairman of the museum, Avner Shalev, who has served in the role since 1993, is retiring at the end of the year.

Support your Jewish community. Support your Jewish News

Thank you for helping to make Jewish News the leading source of news and opinion for the UK Jewish community. Today we're asking for your invaluable help to continue putting our community first in everything we do.

Unlike other Jewish media, we do not charge for content. That won’t change. Because we are free, we rely on advertising to cover our costs. This vital lifeline, which has dropped in recent years, has fallen further due to coronavirus.

For as little as £5 a month you can help sustain the vital work we do in celebrating and standing up for Jewish life in Britain.

Jewish News holds our community together and keeps us connected. Like a synagogue, it’s where people turn to feel part of something bigger. It also proudly shows the rest of Britain the vibrancy and rich culture of modern Jewish life.

You can make a quick and easy one-off or monthly contribution of £5, £10, £20 or any other sum you’re comfortable with.

100% of your donation will help us continue celebrating our community, in all its dynamic diversity...


Being a community platform means so much more than producing a newspaper and website. One of our proudest roles is media partnering with our invaluable charities to amplify the outstanding work they do to help us all.


There’s no shortage of oys in the world but Jewish News takes every opportunity to celebrate the joys too, through projects like Night of Heroes, 40 Under 40 and other compelling countdowns that make the community kvell with pride.


In the first collaboration between media outlets from different faiths, Jewish News worked with British Muslim TV and Church Times to produce a list of young activists leading the way on interfaith understanding.


Royal Mail issued a stamp honouring Holocaust hero Sir Nicholas Winton after a Jewish News campaign attracted more than 100,000 backers. Jewish News also produces special editions of the paper highlighting pressing issues including mental health and Holocaust remembrance.

Easy access

In an age when news is readily accessible, Jewish News provides high-quality content free online and offline, removing any financial barriers to connecting people.

Voice of our community to wider society

The Jewish News team regularly appears on TV, radio and on the pages of the national press to comment on stories about the Jewish community. Easy access to the paper on the streets of London also means Jewish News provides an invaluable window into the community for the country at large.

We hope you agree all this is worth preserving.

read more: