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Israelis stand silently to remember the Holocaust

Israeli drivers, including these in Tel Aviv, stopped and stood in silence beside their vehicles to remember victims of the Holocaust
— Jerusalem (AFP)

Israel came to a standstill on Thursday, halting the morning bustle for two minutes as sirens blared to honour millions murdered during the Holocaust.

In an annual ritual at 10:00 am (0700 GMT), pedestrians froze in place. Drivers stopped and stood in silence beside their vehicles, honouring the six million Jews killed by the Nazis during World War Two.

At Jerusalem's Yad Vashem Holocaust memorial, Prime Minister Naftali Bennett said on Wednesday that the Holocaust is the "ultimate, absolute expression of thousands of years of anti-Semitism."

Bennett also rejected any attempt to draw parallels between the Nazi genocide and current conflicts.

"I take the trouble to say this because as the years go by, there is more and more discourse in the world that compares other difficult events to the Holocaust. But no. Even the most difficult wars today are not the Holocaust and are not comparable to the Holocaust," he said.

In an address to Israeli lawmakers last month, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky, who is Jewish, compared Russian aggression in his country to the Holocaust, drawing immediate criticism from some officials in Israel.

About 161,000 Holocaust survivors live in Israel, according to official figures.

The President of the German parliament, Baerbel Bas, said during a visit to Yad Vashem on Wednesday that "a special obligation arises from Germany's historical guilt."

"Israel's security and the fight against all forms of anti-Semitism are part of our national identity. We will not forget," she said.

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