The Siren Sounds

Posted on April 21st, 2009

A moment of silence on the roads

A moment of silence on the roads

There is nothing like it, nothing even close.

Throughout the State of Israel, on Holocaust Remembrance Day, a siren is sounded in every city and town, every kibbutz and moshav. Whatever we are doing, we stop and our thoughts go out to the murder of six million Jews. A murder that took place while the world watched.

Powerful as they are, no Holocaust museums or monuments can ever do more than the nation of Israel standing at attention for two minutes. Because when we bow our heads and contemplate, there are not one but two thoughts that demand our attention.

The first is the wholesale destruction of human life. Children, families, towns were all burned. Burned by hundreds of thousands of willing followers of a madman who saw the end of Jewish life as a cherished goal. Trainload after trainload arrived full at Auschwitz and other camps and left empty. Day after day, week after week, month after month, and year after year.

Last year, I was in the center of town when the siren was sounded. It was an unforgettable sight as cars and buses, pedestrians, and cyclists at the busiest intersection in Jerusalem all just stopped in their tracks and listened. People in cafes put down their coffee and stood up. Even the beggars stopped begging and the street musicians were silent. We all listened and cried. At the time I thought there was no better place to experience the might of Yom HaShoah than in the center of Jerusalem.

This year I was home. As the siren sounded, I stepped outside and stood in front of my home and the second thought that accompanies this day here was closely intertwined with my thoughts of the six million.

I live in the Jewish State of Israel. I built a home here and am raising my family here. Many people and nations around the world try to sound righteous and say that we live on “stolen” land, that my “settler” children are morally equivalent to the terrorists who live down the road.

They can go to hell. Where was their compassion while six million of my people were slaughtered? Where were they when the kindergartens were emptied out and babies were thrown out of hospital windows? What did they do as the Synagogues burned and my people were enslaved, starved, and then murdered?

Our answer to the Holocaust is much more than a museum or monument. It is much more than a two minute siren one day a year. Our answer is that we continue to build a Jewish nation, respectful of our past but not shackled by it. Jewish schools, shops, buses, food, basketball teams, soldiers, scholars, airlines, diplomats, police officers, criminals, millionaires, beggars, Nobel prize winners, the list goes on. Jewish life in the State of Israel is now richer and more vibrant than it ever was in Europe.

Hitler, Ahmadinejad, Arafat, your names don’t matter. You existed in the past and you will exist in the future. You are losers. You are chasing a goal you will never achieve because your will to kill us is weaker than our will to survive and prosper.

I stood outside my home and felt both sad and defiant as the siren sounded.

A monument to remember the six million?

Every single Jewish home in Israel is such a monument.

We won’t just continue to mourn, we will continue to build.

Yarden Frankl, Neve Daniel, Israel


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