As Threats from Tehran Intensify, Iran’s Exiled Crown Prince Stands with Israel on Holocaust Remembrance Day

JERUSALEM, Israel – As Israel pauses to remember the Holocaust, it also faces an ongoing threat of extinction from Iran. In a surprising twist this year, Israel is hosting the most prominent Iranian ever to visit the Jewish State: Iran’s Crown Prince Reza Pahlavi, son of the former Shah.

Sirens blared and Israel stood still on Tuesday – as it has since 1959 – to commemorate “Holocaust Martyrs and Heroes Remembrance Day.”

Known in Hebrew as The Shoah, Israel’s Remembrance began Monday evening at Yad Vashem Holocaust Memorial marking the 80th anniversary of the Warsaw Ghetto uprising in 1943. 

During this special week, Israel’s President Isaac Herzog called on people to pray during this time of discord and harsh feelings among Israelis.

“I appeal to you, citizens of Israel, with a simple prayer: let us leave these sacred days, which begin tonight and end on Independence Day, above all disputes; let us all come together, as always, in partnership, in grief, in remembrance,” Herzog said.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu stood against a solemn backdrop of a sculpted memorial to the Holocaust victims to remind the world of the threat Iran poses to the Jewish State.

He said the survivors and victims ultimately won a great victory. “The height of this victory is the independence of our 75-year-old country. Israel is a vibrant, free, democratic country with so many achievements.”

But, he added, there is a “relentless battle against those who seek to kill us,” and warned that Israel must not tolerate a nuclear Iran.

This year, a special visitor also stood with Israel – the exiled Crown Prince of Iran, Reza Pahlavi.

After his arrival Monday, Pahlavi met with Netanyahu and his wife Sara, and attended the ceremony honoring the Holocaust victims.

On Tuesday, he met President Herzog and visited the Western Wall.

CBN News spoke with two Holocaust survivors due to participate in the ceremony by lighting six torches in memory of the six million Jews murdered by Nazi Germany and its cohorts.

Yad Vashem’s newest exhibit posts the names of 4,800,000 victims of the Holocaust, written in what is called the Book of Names.

Simmy Allen, a spokesman at Yad Vashem, said, “The world owes the Jews who were murdered during the Holocaust and (we have) a debt to remember them as individuals, as human beings, mothers and sons, fathers and daughters, and not just nameless victims.”

Efraim Mol Lost both of his parents at Auschwitz and showed us their names in the book.

Mol was set to pray the Jewish prayer for the souls of the martyrs at the ceremony this year, but sadly, he fell ill at the last moment.

Earlier, he told CBN News about the Jewish family that adopted him and the Christian woman in Paris who saved them.

“My adopted parents were hidden in her flat and she told them, ‘I spoke with very good neighbors, don’t get out from my flat. They will bring you medicine and clothes and food.’ And she was for me like, like mother. Yes. I called her Mommy Lucy,” Mol recalled.

Mol showed us a photo of him at Auschwitz, as well as later photos of him in the Israeli Defense Forces. He served in the 1967 Six-Day War, the 1973 Yom Kippur War, and the 2006 Hezbollah War.

He has a son who is a policeman, as well as children and great-grandchildren

Mol sees Israel as a microcosm of the world.

“The Jewish came from all the parts of the world. Yes, from Iran, from to Germany, From Iraq, from Poland. And we are all together here. And, this is the unity of the humanity, in microcosm. Now, the macro have to look on the Israel and to try to do the same,” Mol explained.

Another survivor, 86-year-old Robert Bonfil, lit one of the candles at the ceremony. He showed us the name of his grandfather in the Book of Names.

Bonfil’s family was saved by Christians in Greece.

“The archbishop of the town, his name was, Hezkiel. He was very, very friendly of us and, saved my father and us” Bonfil added, “I want to remember my – the saviors that is – the family of Costantinos and Vasiliki who were in the mountains and received us and saved us in their house.

Bonfil’s 26-year-old grandson, Capt. Noam Colb, accompanied him. He says it’s important to remember the Holocaust for his and for future generations.

“The lesson I learned from the Holocaust is important from the one hand, the importance of having a state as Israel, a Jewish state for – as an asylum – for all the Jews all over the world. But, from the other hand, the importance of treating the best way all the people, all human beings, because we’re all humans and we can’t let – never – such a horrible thing occur,” Colb cautioned.

His grandfather added, “Christians and Jews are not different, and they can help one another and live together in the same world with the same interests and the same love for people.”

Yad Vashem’s Simmy Allen says the message is the same for everyone.

“To Christians, as well as to Jews, is to become educated, to educate themselves about the history, to know what happened, how it happened, to listen to testimony, to become witnesses themselves, because that way we can spread the truth and we can spread the historical, accurate truth for all eternity.”

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