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´Arab Terror Similar to Nazi Death Machine´


Outgoing General Security Services (GSS) Director Avi Dichter said Thursday that Arab terrorists are directing a "machine of annihilation" just as the Nazis executed that annihilation. Dichter spoke at closing ceremonies of Holocaust Memorial Day at the Kibbutz Lohamei Hagetaot (The Ghetto Fighters' Kibbutz) near Naharia in the north. Dichter, whose parents were Holocaust survivors, said Arab terrorists are waging a war against the Jewish people. Attacks on restaurants, at religious events and in shopping malls bring back to the present the shocking events of the Holocaust, he added.

Sharon Decries Holocaust-Evacuation Comparisons

By Ha'aretz &

Prime Minister Ariel Sharon marked Holocaust Remembrance Day in Poland on Thursday, where he headed the March of the Living at the Auschwitz-Birkenau extermination camp.

Some 20,000 people from around the world, including an estimated 16,000 Jewish youths, marched the three kilometers (two miles) from the notorious Auschwitz gate with the inscription "Arbeit Macht Frei" (Work sets you free) to Bikenau where the Polish prime minister urged the world not to forget the death of 6 million Jews.

Sharon called on people to remember that the world stood silent while the Nazis murdered six million Jews. "Remember the victims and remember the murderers," he said at the Birkenau ceremony. "Remember how millions of Jews were led to their deaths and the world remained silent. "The world stood aside then in silence. Remember. You are free Jewish youth," he said.

"You - the link between the generation of the Holocaust and revival [of Israel as a state] and future generations - have the duty to bequeath the lesson, memories and stories to underscore the importance of the Jewish State," he said.

Sharon came to Poland with 20 Holocaust survivors accompanied by grandchildren who serve in the Israeli army. "The State of Israel [is] the only place in the world where Jews have the right and capability to defend themselves by themselves," he said, speaking to the crowd standing amongst the bare brick barracks of Birkenau.

"You are heroes," he said. But he added that, between the end of World War II in 1945 and creation of Israel in 1948, Britain tried to keep them out, sending thousands of Holocaust survivors to detention camps "behind barbed wire again" because of "Arab pressure of the time."

After the ceremony at Birkenau, Sharon returned by vehicle to Auschwitz where he was to affix a mezuzah at the Jewish pavilion and lit a memorial candle in the crematorium.

In his address to the crowd, Polish Prime Minister Marek Belka said that the Holocaust had turned Poland from a country where Jews lived and developed their culture to a mass grave. He called for a renewal of Jewish life in Poland and improved relations between the Polish and Jewish peoples.

"We are saying - we are alive, we are a nation. There are so many people from around the world here; it is a guarantee this will not happen again. We have all survived the Holocaust," said Jenya Sonts, a Russian student walking with three Indian Jews.

Survivors, some of whom returned for the first time to their place of anguish after losing parents and siblings, came to the march with their own families." I want to say goodbye to my mother and my family. Their graves are not here, but their ashes are. It's hard. I feel cold outside and inside," said Katia Egett, a Hungarian Jew who spent a year in Auschwitz, here with her daughter and grandchildren.

"After the survivors die, this will become history. When it does, someone has to say, I was here, I spoke to a survivor, and I touched one. This is the torch passed from the survivors to the next generations," the march's founder and head of the Anti-Defamation League Abraham Hirchson said.

Yitzhak Pery, who spent eight months in Auschwitz, said it was his first time back. "I was here 61 years ago and I am remembering everything," said 75-year-old Pery, who was accompanied by his 20-year-old grandson Shahar, an Israeli paratrooper. "I never wanted to come back. I came because of my grandson."

In Letter, Naomi Shemer Admitted Lifting 'Jerusalem of Gold' Tune

By Ha'aretz

A few days before her death last June, songwriter, poet and Israel Prize laureate Naomi Shemer confessed to a friend that she had based the melody to her renowned song from 1967, "Jerusalem of Gold," on a Basque lullaby.

In the letter obtained by Ha'aretz, Shemer told composer Gil Aldema that she had used the Basque lullaby unwittingly and that when she realized what she had done, she panicked.

"I consider the entire affair a regrettable work accident - so regrettable that it may be the reason for me taking ill," she wrote to Aldema, another Israel Prize laureate who initiated the composition of the song. "You are the only person in the world - besides my family - who should know the truth about 'Jerusalem of Gold,' and here is the truth," Shemer wrote.

Shemer's family on Thursday said she had asked them to give the letter to Aldema upon her death. "We love Gil and bless his decision to publicize the letter. The letter revealed that this was also mother's [Shemer's] wish," the family said. The family emphasized that, according to the letter, "the insignificant resemblance between the melodies that tormented mother so much occurred unwittingly."

In 1967, Aldema asked Shemer to write a song for that year's song festival, and Shemer came up with "Jerusalem of Gold," named after a piece of jewelry given by Rabbi Akiva to his wife, Rachel.

The song was first heard at the song festival in Jerusalem on the night after Independence Day, and immediately enchanted its listeners - thanks, in part, to its rendition by Shuli Natan, a then unknown singer who Shemer insisted was the one best suited to singing the song.

In her letter to Aldema, Shemer wrote that she had heard the Basque lullaby sung by a friend, Nehama Hendel, in the mid-1960s. "Apparently, at one of these meetings, Nehama sang the well-known Basque lullaby to me, and it went in one ear and out the other," Shemer wrote.

"In the winter of 1967, when I was working on the writing of 'Jerusalem of Gold,' the song must have creeped into me unwittingly," she wrote. "I also didn't know that an invisible hand dictated changes in the original to me. ... It turns out that someone protected me and provided me with my eight notes that grant me the rights to my version of the folk song. But all this was done, as I said, unwittingly."

Three weeks after the song festival, the Six-Day War broke out, and the paratroopers who reached the Old City of Jerusalem sang the song on the Temple Mount and alongside the Western Wall. From that moment onward, "Jerusalem of Gold" became something of a national anthem and Shemer's most famous song. After the war, Shemer added another verse that begins with the words: "We have returned to the water cisterns..."

Over the years, Shemer was frequently asked if she had used the Basque song, but always angrily denied doing so. At the end of her letter to Aldema, she wrote, "My only comfort is that I tell myself that perhaps it is a tune of the Anusim [Spanish or Portuguese Jews who were forced to convert and kept Jewish practices in secret, called by the insulting term Marranos by the Christians] and all I did was restore past glory. Now you, Gil, know the truth, and I permit you to publish it."

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