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Herzog’s Rosh Hashanah Message

President Chaim Herzog of Israel called on world Jewry to “examine with absolute honesty whether we have fully learnt the lessons” of the most “savage episode in history,” the years of Nazi domination of Europe and the Holocaust.

In Rosh Hashanah greetings, Herzog observered that in the four decades since the defeat of Nazism “the innate vitality of the Jewish people has come to the fore … the independent State of the Jewish people has risen, has overcome incredible obstacles, absorbed many hundreds of thousands, and has to its credit remarkable achievements in many fields of endeavor.”

“Yet,” Herzog added, “we must wonder sadly why so soon after the overwhelming historic experiences of Holocaust and national revival, assimilation claims so many; effective Jewish education reaches so few; the impulse to link one’s own life with Israel, the center of the Jewish people’s life, has not touched more than a brave and dedicated minority. Our generation has been granted the opportunity longed for, prayed for, during two millenia, and not now to be missed.”

The President noted that “Forty years after the defeat of the Nazis, we are witness to rising anti-Semitism. We are called upon to combat it and we are called upon as well to respond to the urgent needs for aid and rescue of Jews in the Soviet Union, Syria, Ethiopia and other foci of intolerance and unrest.”

Herzog acknowledged that “In Israel itself we must battle on many fronts — for peace and security, for political stability, economic recovery, adequate absorption of newcomers, mutual tolerance among all sections of the population.” In connection with the latter, he added: “We must battle against any expression of extremism and intolerance which are a disgrace to the Jewish people, an aberration from Jewish history, and no less than a violation of the Torah.”

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