ISRAEL'S NAT'L DAY TO COMBAT
|Minister for Jerusalem and Diaspora Affairs
For Immediate Release
Natan Sharansky, Minister for Jerusalem and Diaspora Affairs, inaugurates Israel's first national day of solidarity with Jewish communities around the world suffering from the rising tide of anti-Semitism.
JERUSALEM - Natan Sharansky, Israel's Minister for Jerusalem and Diaspora Affairs, announced today that the Israeli Government has designated January 27 as a "National Day to Combat Anti-Semitism". On this day, chosen to coincide
with the annual European commemoration of the Holocaust, Israeli schools, the IDF, public institutions and the media
are conducting special programming focused on the dangers of resurgent anti-Semitism around the world.
"Anti-Semitism threatens the Jewish People, the very existence of the State of Israel, and in fact the entire world,"
said Sharansky. "We must raise awareness in Israel, strengthen the solidarity between Israel and the world Jewry,
and increase Israeli citizens' sense of responsibility regarding events in the Diaspora."
The date January 27 - the date Auschwitz was liberated - is the official Holocaust Memorial Day in many European countries, including Sweden, the UK, Denmark, Italy and Germany. At Sharansky's instigation, the cabinet's ministerial committee for ceremonies has declared the day an official national day of solidarity with Jewish communities enduring increasing anti-Semitism, and of education and action to fight anti-Semitism throughout the world.
"We must combat anti-Semitism today; tomorrow may be too late," Sharansky added. "History has taught us that
anti-Semitism starts with the Jews, but doesn't end with them. Thus the fight against anti-Semitism is everyone's obligation - as Israelis, as Jews, and as citizens of the world."
KEY EVENTS ON AND AROUND THE NATIONAL DAY INCLUDE:
Sunday, January 25:
The cabinet will dedicate part of its weekly government meeting to the topic of Anti-Semitism; minister Sharansky
will present to the Prime Minister and the cabinet a review of global anti-Semitic incidents and trends for the year 2003.
Monday, January 26:
7:30am - IDF General Staff Forum - As part of the General Staff meeting, a discussion of "Islamic Anti-Semitism
as a strategic threat to Israel" will be held with the participation of minister Sharansky.
9:30am - Seminar for educators on "The role of the State of Israel in the fight against anti-Semitism", with the participation of the heads of the education ministry, universities, student organizations and the Jewish Agency, in
the Bliblical Lands museum in Jerusalem. Minister of Education Limor Livnat and minister for Jerusalem and Diaspora affairs Natan Sharansky will open the seminar, which continues until 1pm, with a discussion of "Policy and political aspects of the fight against anti-Semitism."
2pm - Minister Sharansky and the chairman of Yad Vashem, Avnar Shalev will host the ambassadors of European countries in a unique colloquium on "Education and Anti-Semitism" in advance of the European Holocaust Memorial
Day and Israel's Day to Combat Anti-Semitism. The event will include a presentation of new educational kits and
online curriculum prepared by Yad VaShem's School for Holocaust Studies for use in schools worldwide, and a discussion about the dangers - and opportunities -- caused by recent events in Europe. Minister Sharansky will call
on the ministers of education in Europe to include these lesson plans in their school systems, as part of the battle against anti-Semitism (available at : www.yadvashem.org/education/ceremonies/auschwitz/lesson.asp ).
Tuesday, January 27 - NATIONAL DAY TO COMBAT ANTI-SEMITISM
9:30am - Minister Sharansky will appear before the Cadets of the IDF Officers' course in Har Gilo, as part of
activities carried out by the IDF's Education Corps in every unit in the country. Prior to this, a handbook was distributed to all education officers, produced by the education corps, with lesson plans and activities covering the "new" anti-Semitism, solidarity and responsibility between Israelis and Jews of the Diaspora, and the fight against
anti-Semitism as part of the struggle against racism and for democracy and freedom.
10am - 4pm - Full day Seminar for leaders and counselors of all of Israel's youth movements and heads of worldwide Jewish youth movements, on the topic "Anti-Semitism of the 20th Century - Holocaust Memory under Attack", at
Yad Vashem in Jerusalem. At 10am Chairman Avnar Shalev will lead a discussion on the relevance of the Holocaust
to the current wave of anti-Semitism; at 1pm minister Sharansky will speak on "Israel's role in the fight against
3pm - As part of an "open-line" program on Galei Tzahal (IDF radio), minister Sharansky and Prof. Mina Porat, director of the Institute for Anti-Semitism at Tel Aviv University, will participate in a discussion on anti-Semitism
and its relevance to Israelis today.
4pm - The Knesset (Israel's parliment) will sit in special session to observe Israel's National Day to Combat Anti-Semitism, with the participation of the prime minister, Ariel Sharon.
5:30pm - The World Maccabi movement will hold a conference on the global struggle against anti-Semitism at
Maccabia in Ramat Gan. The conference will include the personal testimony of youth from around the world; at 6:30pm minister Sharansky will speak as part of a discussion panel.
A number of international Jewish youth movements, including Bnei Akiva, Habonim, Young Judea and others, are holding identical ceremonies in at least 10 countries around the world, focused on understanding the roots and
dangers of anti-Semitism and practical ways to combat it. In addition, throughout the week the Jewish Agency will
be holding special training sessions on dealing with the now anti-Semitism in Jewish educational centers around the world, and together with Jewish communities and federations, on supporting Israel and distinguishing between
legitimate criticism of Israeli policy and anti-Semitism.
The Jewish Agency has posted, on its "Building A Jewish World" website, at: www.jafi-ed.org.il/antisemitism
a number of educational units, suggested activities, and discussion groups, for use by educators and individuals
around the world.
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