The normal bustle of daily life in Israel came to a standstill on Tuesday, as people observed a two minute silence in memory of those who died in the Holocaust. The event commemoration is Holocaust Martyrs and Heroes’ Remembrance Day, when the state honours the more than six million Jews who were killed by the Nazis during World War Two.
An opening ceremony for the national day took place in Jerusalem’s Yad Vashem museum, attended by the country’s leaders. Six torches representing the victims were lit. “Israel can defend itself,” Prime Minister Ehud Olmert told those gathered, “but it calls on the free world to stand with it in the struggle to preserve light and freedom, to defend the values of justice and the human spirit.” Israel’s president also referred to the threat from Iran.