The 75th Holocaust Remembrance Day in Jerusalem

Fredi Winkler

The 75th Holocaust Remembrance Day in Jerusalem, in which many heads of state from all over the world took part, proved to be an impressive demonstration of solidarity with Israel and the Jewish people. Most noteworthy was probably the participation of Russian President Vladimir Putin, who came to the event with the largest delegation. However, Putin’s visit to Jerusalem served other purposes. The Russian Church has large possessions at its disposal in Jerusalem from the time of the Tsars, and thus they took the opportunity to negotiate ownership rights (which are sometimes unclear).

At Putin’s express wish, a memorial to the liberation of Stalingrad from the Nazis had been erected in Jerusalem, which Putin also unveiled and dedicated on the occasion of his visit. The Russian president also took the opportunity to visit Bethlehem and met with Palestinian President Abbas there. Needless to say, this meeting had a symbolic character that shouldn’t be underestimated.

It’s probably no coincidence that the Trump plan for a Palestinian state (and, by extension, a peace settlement with the Palestinians) had just been announced, parallel to the commemoration of the 75th Holocaust Memorial Day. Antisemitism is increasing worldwide, particularly in the US, and among young university students there. The fate of refugees resulting from the establishment of the State of Israel, and the ensuing conflict with the Palestinians provided, and continues to provide, fuel to Israel’s opponents. One frequent accusation against Israel is that they aren’t much better than the Nazis. “The Deal of the Century,” through which the Palestinians should receive a state—and at the same time a great deal of financial assistance, to help them emerge from sometimes antiquated and underdeveloped living conditions—is supposed to take away the arguments of Israel’s opponents. 

Since its inception, Israel has been fighting an extended struggle for survival, and against enemies with superior strength. But today, the state of Israel is in a position to afford the risk of a Palestinian state, but not without the decisive and generous help of the United States.

Over the past ten years, something else has changed in the Middle East. The entire Islamic and Arab world once stood decisively against Israel. Since the upheavals of the “Arab Spring,” the war against ISIS in Syria, and the conflict between Shiite Iran and the Sunni Arab states, Iran (the leading anti-Israel power) has been increasingly isolated. Many Arab countries understand Israel better today because they themselves are threatened by Iran. This means that the Palestinians are receiving less and less support for their cause from the Arab world, as well as the rest of the world. Ultimately, the EU will probably also support “The Deal of the Century.” We can surmise that the outcome of this will ultimately be the Palestinians’ acceptance of the proposal, whether they like it or not.

If the deal is actually successful, then not only President Trump should be recognized, but also his son-in-law Jared Kushner, David Friedman (the American ambassador to Israel), the team that contributed, and finally Benjamin Netanyahu as well, who always said that he was in favor of a Palestinian state. Now it has become clear what he meant.

For many friends of Israel—who have been keeping an eye on the nation, because it is home to the future messianic kingdom—this may be a disappointment. But God doesn’t make mistakes.

News from Israel - 03/2020

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