Begin’s Proposal to Amalgamate Tisha B’av with Holocaust Memorial Day is Criticized by Hausner

Premier Menachem Begin’s suggestion that Holocaust Remembrance Day should from now on be incorporated into the Tisha B’Av observances drew fire from Gideon Hausner of the Independent Liberal Party who charged it was an attempt to confuse two tragedies in Jewish history.

Hausner, the chairman of the Yad Vashem Memorial Authority, said Begin’s proposal would lead to the disappearance of the remembrance of both the Holocaust and the heroism of the ghetto fighters and partisans. Hausner explained that Tisha B’Av falls during the summer school recess when there is no opportunity to teach school children about the Holocaust and hold memorial services in which they can participate. The present Holocaust Remembrance Day falls right after the Passover recess.

Begin responded that Tisha B’Av has traditionally been the day on which the Jewish people marked other major tragedies in their history, despite the fact that it was the day of destruction of the Second Temple.

“The sages had done so because they realized that there was a limit to the number of mourning dates our people could observe,” Begin said. He suggested that the incorporation of one remembrance day into the other would emphasize the destruction of the Jewish people both in ancient and modern times. “This would make Tisha B’Av a special day for all Jewish people,” Begin said. He reported that both Israeli Chief Rabbis, Ovadia Yosef and Shlomo Goren, as well as Rabbi Joseph Soloveitchik of Boston, approved of his idea.

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