At 10am local time on Monday Israel fell silent as the Jewish state marked Holocaust Memorial Day.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu laid a wreath at the Yad Vashem Holocaust Museum. A statement from Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas 24 hours earlier called the Holocaust “the most heinous crime” in modern history.
It is seen as the strongest comment he has yet made publicly on the subject. Last week Abbas and his Fatah group reached a unity deal with its Islamist rival Hamas.
“I think its an overture to American public opinion, to world public opinion, to try to placate and somehow smooth over the fact that he made a terrible step away from peace. He made a giant leap backward away from peace, because he embraced Hamas that calls for the extermination of Jews worldwide, for the eradication of Israel, and actually acts on a daily basis against peace,” responded Benjamin Netanyahu to Mahmoud Abbas’s statement.
People across Israel paid their respect to the estimated six million Jews murdered in the Nazi genocide during World War II. Many stood outside their cars to take part.
Around 250,000 Holocaust survivors live in Israel about half the number which arrived in the country since it was established in 1948.