Sirens Sound in Israel to Mark Holocaust Remembrance Day
Life in Israel came to a halt at 10 o’clock on Tuesday morning as air raid sirens marked Holocaust Remembrance Day, commemorating the 6 million Jewish victims of the Nazis. This year’s commemorations are more virtual in nature, with public movement and gatherings severely curtailed by Health Ministry directives aimed at fighting the coronavirus pandemic. For the first time in its history, the official opening ceremony at Yad Vashem, the World Holocaust Remembrance Center in Jerusalem, was pre-recorded, having been held in a plaza completely devoid of survivors and their families, dignitaries or guests. Most of the day’s programming and events have moved online, though this will be of little comfort to the estimated 150,000 remaining survivors in Israel. The youngest among them are in their late 70s, and with coronavirus restrictions being particularly harsh for the elderly, most will effectively be shut-ins, unable to find comfort in the hugs of loved ones and friends on this solemn day.