Jan 28, 2008

Olmert: Threat on Israel Intolerable

Ynet News

Prime Minister Ehud Olmert drew a parallel between the Third Reich and the current threats facing Israel on Monday evening - hinting at Iran and its nuclear program.

Speaking at a Knesset ceremony marking the annual International Holocaust Remembrance Day, Olmert said: "The Jewish people will never again be without a home or the power to defend themselves, as in the days of the Holocaust. Yet we are paying close attention and are more sensitive than any other people to threats of extermination."

The prime minister said Israel does not allow itself to be complacent in the face of calls for the Jewish State's destruction, "particularly when these calls are premised on zealous, murderous ideology, a tyrannical terror-supporting regime that recklessly aspires for regional hegemony, and a malicious program for developing weapons of mass destruction."

"For us, the Jewish people that experienced the Holocaust, this is an intolerable situation," Olmert said.

The prime minister noted that the State of Israel is capable of defending itself, but added that the international community should be urged to act. "We greatly appreciate the governments and leaders who have adopted a firm stance in face of the danger," he said. "We call on others whose position is influenced by calculations of self-interest to abandon any foreign considerations and present one determined front in order to remove the shadow threatening regional peace and world peace."

'Humanity failing again'

Turning his attention to the Holocaust, Olmert noted that never before in the history of human kind has the world seen "such monstrous national apparatus in the name of a demented racial theory." He also stressed the importance of Holocaust education worldwide as a way to counter fanatic ideologies, whether religious or secular.

Olmert's speech was followed by an addressed delivered by Opposition Leader Benjamin Netanyahu, who charged that "today, humanity is failing again."

"Anti-Semitism is back in full force. In the past it was confined to the Right, but today you can also find it in the Left as well as among radical Islamic elements sweeping Europe," the Likud leader said.

"There are frequent calls for Israel's extermination, yet the world remains silent or says very little," Netanyahu said, praising the United Nations for marking International Holocaust Remembrance Day.

"The lesson for humanity is to stop evil while it's still small," he said.