In this unit we will address some of the unique aspects of the relationship between Israel (and Israelis) and the Holocaust. Some say that the state of Israel would never have been born were it not for the Holocaust, but whether or not this is true, the relationship is fundamental, complex and evolving.
The Holocaust is mentioned daily in the media in a variety of contexts, and is an important part of the Israeli consciousness. The Holocaust is commemorated in Israel by law, and in recent years is one of the guiding principles of the educational system. Thousands of Israeli teenagers go each year on pilgrimages to Holocaustrelated sites in Poland, and return infused with the conviction of the vital role of Israel as a haven for worldwide Jewry. By examining Yom Hashoah, a yearly event which affects the lives of every citizen in the state, and the expeditions to Poland, a significant and formative experience for many young Israelis, we will try to understand some of the distinctive features of Israel’s relationship to the Holocaust.