‘We cannot let the factionalism gene dismantle Israel’

The state of Israel today must not let “the dangerous gene of factionalism” dismantle it from within, Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett said on Wednesday.

Speaking at an opening event of Holocaust Martyrs’ and Heroes’ Remembrance Day at Yad Vashem in Jerusalem, the Prime Minister said: “The Warsaw Ghetto Uprising is rightly seen as the pinnacle of Jewish heroism – an impossible battle of a handful of Jews against many Germans. We have all grown up on this legacy. Less has been said about the tragic fact that the two Jewish organizations that fought the Germans did not do so as one body, but rather as two competing organizations that did not cooperate with each other. These two organizations were the Jewish Military Union, which belonged to the right-wing revisionist movement, and the Jewish Combat Organization, which belonged to the left-wing socialist movement.

“Yes. My brothers and sisters, even during the darkest chapter of Jewish history, during the hell of the extermination of our people, left and right did not find a way to work together,” he continued, “Each of these groups fought the Germans alone. I’m trying to figure out what ideological divide was so great that it could divide two Jewish organizations that were fighting such a desperate and heroic battle? What animosity justified such division? My brothers and sisters, we cannot – we simply cannot – allow the same dangerous gene of factionalism to dismantle Israel from within.

“Today, thank God, in the State of Israel we have an army, a government, a Knesset and a nation: the people of Israel. When we are united, no outside enemy can defeat us,” Bennett said.

Elsewhere in his remarks, Bennett emphasized that “the Holocaust is an unprecedented event in human history. I take the trouble to say this because over the years there are more and more discourses in the world that compare other difficult events to the Holocaust. But no.

“Even the most difficult wars today are not the Holocaust and cannot be compared to the Holocaust. No event in history, however cruel, can be compared to the Holocaust – the extermination of the Jews of Europe by the Nazis and their collaborators,” he said. “Unfortunately, history is full of cruel wars, brutal murders and also genocides. But it is usually a means designed to achieve an end, some kind of expectation – military, political, economic, religious. The case of the extermination of the Jews is different.

He continued: “Never, anywhere or at any time, has a people acted to destroy another in such a planned, systematic and indifferent way, from a place of absolute ideology and not out of utilitarianism. The Nazis didn’t kill the Jews to take their jobs or their homes. The Nazis sought to drive out all Jews and exterminate every last one of them.

Holocaust Remembrance Day began Wednesday evening in Israel and lasts until Thursday evening.

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