As it does every year on the 27th day of the Hebrew month of Nisan, Israel came to a standstill at 10 AM Monday morning as air raid sirens blared across the country commemorating the senseless massacre of six million Jews in the Nazi Holocaust.
Memorial ceremonies were held at several locations, as the nation's leadership took time away from their duties to pay their respects to those who perished, those who survived and the thousands of Gentiles who risked and often lost their own lives to save those of Jews targeted by the Nazi regime.
Meanwhile, a prominent Israeli-British historian warned that the slogan "Never Again" is fading, and that there is a very real possibility for a repeat of the Holocaust.
In his new book "A Lethal Obsession: Anti-Semitism from Antiquity to the Global Jihad," Hebrew University Professor Robert Wistrich explains that the politics and social attitudes that gave rise to and allowed the Nazi Holocaust to occur are still very much with us. In particular, Wistrich notes that Islam has much more openly conducted a religious war against the Jews in recent years, while Europe and the West have reacted with general indifference to that fact.
"We are in an era once again where the Jews are facing genocidal threats as a people," Wistrich said in an interview with Ha'aretz. "We have not been in that situation for quite a while. And maybe this is the first time since the Holocaust that Jews feel that this is palpable."
Wistrich also acknowledged the enormous rise in anti-Semitism in Europe in recent years, fueled largely by more brazen Muslim populations there.
An annual study done by Tel Aviv University titled "Anti-Semitism Worldwide" revealed that attacks on and harassment of Jews doubled in 2009, especially in Europe and Canada.
In 2008 there were 559 reported incidents of anti-Semitism worldwide. In 2009 that number jumped to 1,129. The UK was the biggest offender, with anti-Semitic incidents there increasing from 112 in 2008 to 374 in 2009. France was close behind, with 50 anti-Semitic incidents in 2008 and 195 in 2009. Canada saw an increase from just 13 anti-Semitic incidents in 2008 to 138 incidents in 2009.
The report noted that the enormous jump in just one year can be attributed to the blurring of lines between hatred of Jews as a people and condemnation of Israel as a nation. In other words, and as many Israelis and friends of Israel have warned, anti-Israel sentiment is the new anti-Semitism.