ISRAEL AT WAR - DAY 140

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Dutch ‘Righteous Gentile’ returns medal to protest Gaza deaths

Henk Zanoli hid Jewish child during Holocaust; distant relatives were killed in Israeli strike in Strip last month

Illustrative: Garden of the Righteous Among the Nations at Yad Vashem. (Courtesy)
Illustrative: Garden of the Righteous Among the Nations at Yad Vashem. (Courtesy)

A Dutch man who risked his life to save a Jew during the Holocaust gave back a medal he received for his actions in order to protest Israel’s actions in Gaza.

Henk Zanoli, 91, returned his medal to the Israeli embassy in The Hague after a member of his family died in an Israeli strike in Gaza, the Haaretz daily reported Friday.

Zanoli and his mother were recognized by the State of Israel and its Holocaust commemoration authority, Yad Vashem, in 2011 for hiding a Jewish child in their home from 1943 to 1945.

A great-niece of Zanoli is a Dutch diplomat whose husband was born in the al-Bureij refugee camp in central Gaza. Last month an Israeli bomb killed several members of his family, Haaretz reported.

“It is particularly shocking and tragic that today, four generations on, our family is faced with the murder of our kin in Gaza. Murder carried out by the State of Israel,” Zanoli wrote in a letter to the embassy explaining his decision to return the medal. “For me to hold on to the honour granted by the State of Israel, under these circumstances, will be both an insult to the memory of my courageous mother who risked her life,” and to relatives in mourning in Gaza, he added.

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