Expo 2020 Dubai: Israel pavilion honours 6 million Holocaust victims

Visitors observed the International Holocaust Remembrance Day with prayers

Photo: Expo 2020 Dubai
Photo: Expo 2020 Dubai

Anjana Sankar

Published: Thu 27 Jan 2022, 9:37 PM

With prayers and oaths of remembrance, the Israel pavilion at Expo 2020 Dubai observed the International Holocaust Remembrance Day on Thursday, January 27.

The day, which was designated by the United Nations General Assembly, acknowledges the date when Auschwitz concentration and extermination camp was liberated by the Red Army in 1945.

“I'm standing here in the UAE, a Muslim country where the founders and leaders carry the flag of tolerance and respect to the other. I am standing here proud as the first Israeli ambassador and I thank the UAE and what it represents," said Amir Hayek, the Israeli ambassador to the UAE.

“We must stand against anti-Semitism in the strongest way we can each... (It is) our responsibility to fight against anti-Semitism and racism in any way, shape and form anywhere. It would be a mistake to talk about the Holocaust as something that belongs to the past,” Hayek said.

The solemn ceremony, attended by Jewish expats, officials and diplomats, saw the lighting of the candle to remember the victims and family members.

The pavilion also honoured diplomats who went beyond their duty and saved Jewish lives in an exhibition titled 'Beyond Duty', organised by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

The exhibition celebrated those described by the state of Israel as: The Righteous Among the Nations, honoured by Yad Vashem. The Righteous Among Nations are non-Jews who took great risks to save Jews during the Holocaust.

Speaking on the occasion, Israel’s Commissioner-General Elazar Cohen said it is a “very special occasion” that the commemoration of the Holocaust is being done in a Muslim country.


“I think it's among the first time such an event is being held in a Muslim and Arab country. This is also unique and special opportunity because of the peace agreements. recently signed between Israel and the UAE. We remember today, these agreements are agreements of hope: Hope for better future for our people, hope for the countries in the region, hope for the entire world,” said Cohen.

On his part, Najeeb Mohammed Al Ali, Executive Director of the Expo Commissioner-General’s office, said the UAE has undertaken several initiatives that demonstrates its commitment to peace and tolerance.

“The Abrahamic House in Abu Dhabi, where a mosque, synagogue and church stand together in one place, is one such. This is a testimony of what the UAE is all about,” he said.

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