Netanyahu on eve of Yom Hashoah: If Jewish people don’t defend ourselves, nobody will

Sam Sokol is the Times of Israel's political correspondent. He was previously a reporter for the Jerusalem Post, Jewish Telegraphic Agency and Haaretz. He is the author of "Putin’s Hybrid War and the Jews"

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu gives a video statement, May 5, 2024. (Screen grab via Government Press Office)
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu gives a video statement, May 5, 2024. (Screen grab via Government Press Office)

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, in a statement ahead of Yom Hashoah, Israel’s Holocaust Remembrance Day, cites comments made to him by Holocaust survivors about gentiles who make promises not being trustworthy, and says the lesson to learn from the Holocaust is that if the Jewish nation doesn’t protect itself, nobody else will.

“Tonight we will commemorate the millions of our brothers and sisters who were murdered in the Holocaust,” Netanyahu says in a statement hours before the annual commemoration, which begins on Sunday evening.

Meeting with Netanyahu, two of the six survivors scheduled to light one of six torches representing the Holocaust’s six million victims at Yad Vashem this evening declared that the Jewish state “is the one and only refuge for the Jewish people” and that “gentiles who make promises are not to be trusted,” Netanyahu recalls.

“These heroic survivors are right. In the terrible Holocaust, there were great leaders in the world who stood by, so the first lesson of the Holocaust is this: If we don’t protect ourselves, no one will protect us. And if we have to stand alone, we will stand alone,” he says.

“Therefore, we will defend ourselves in every way, overcome our enemies and ensure our security — in the Gaza Strip, on the northern border, everywhere.”

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