Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu lashed out at Iran in a speech commemorating Holocaust Remembrance Day at Jerusalem's Yad Vashem memorial Wednesday, saying the country and its leadership is intent on destroying Israel.
On Thursday, a nationwide siren and minute of silence will take place in memory of the 6 million Jews systematically killed by Nazi Germany and its collaborators during World War II.
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Netanyahu ripped into the landmark nuclear accord reached between Tehran and world powers and said: "I have a message for the leaders of Iran: Don't test Israel's resolve." To the Iranian people, he said: "The regime is oppressing you and when this regime disappears off the face of the earth then our two peoples can live together once more in coexistence," he said.
Netanyahu also raised the recent chemical attack in Syria. "We saw Syrian children that were slaughtered by chemical weapons. One great lesson that has been with us since the Holocaust: Murderous evil that is not stood up against spreads rapidly and gradually, and threatens all of humanity."
"The leaders of the free world wanted to prevent war and led to the conquest of all of Europe," continued Netanyahu. "Their unwillingness to pay the price to curb aggression early on, led to humanity paying the price."
As Netanyahu took the stage, Russia said that President Vladimir Putin spoke with Netanyahu and urged Israel not to take action in Syria and to threaten its security. The news of the telephone call between Netanyahu and Putin appeared in a statement on the website of the Kremlin, which specified that Putin insisted it is "important" to maintain Syria's sovereignty.
Speaking at the ceremony prior, President Reuven Rivlin told the audience that there are still Holocaust deniers out there and Europe must help Israel reveal the truth.
"There was a Holocaust and there are those who try to forget and deny the Holocaust, and the difference between the two is the truth itself," Rivlin said. "We will never lend a hand to those who deny the truth – not by individuals, nor organizations, nor the heads of parties or even by the heads of states," said Rivlin.
"We do not expect justice in Europe to mend the past, justice cannot grow on the land that saw the destruction of our brothers and sisters. But we do expect to find real partners, who together with us will invest in education, think tanks, and will deal in commemoration and remembering. Only if we learn together can we make good on the promise of 'never again.'
"Anti-Semitism will not disappear and has not disappeared, but we have changed and we are now strong and secure."
Israel is on high alert for any Iranian retaliation after Tehran's direct threat Tuesday, as well as any possible U.S. strike against Syria's Assad regime in retaliation to the chemical attack at Douma.
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