On Thursday, Jerusalem’s role as a gathering place for kings will appear. The event commemorates the Holocaust but one rabbi sees it as a decisive moment in which the nations will choose which side they will fight for in the final battle between Good and Evil.
The Fifth World Holocaust Forum called “Remembering the Holocaust, Fighting Antisemitism,” organized by the World Holocaust Forum Foundation in cooperation with Yad Vashem, the World Holocaust Remembrance Center, will take place on 23 January 2020 at the museum’s Warsaw Ghetto Square in Jerusalem. The event marks the 75th anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz-Birkenau concentration camp and International Holocaust Remembrance Day.
The list of world leaders attending is quite impressive. At least 47 world leaders, including 26 presidents, four kings (from Spain, Holland, Belgium and Luxembourg), and four prime ministers will represent their countries that include the U.S., Russia, England, Romania, Italy, Austria, Greece, Cyprus, Albania, Croatia, Georgia, Bulgaria, Sweden, Denmark, the Czech Republic, Hungary, Finland, Bosnia, Iceland, Armenia, Australia, Canada, and several others.
Yad Vashem invited every country that was under Nazi occupation, every country that was an Allied power. In a poignant gesture, Germany was also invited.
The U.S. will be represented by Vice President Mike Pence and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi. The gathering will be addressed by Israeli President Reuven Rivlin, Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu, French President Emmanuel Macron, Prince of Wales HRH Prince Charles, Russian President Vladimir Putin, a senior leader from the US, and German President Frank-Walter Steinmeier. On Wednesday, leaders will gather at Rivlin’s residence for an official dinner and discussion. Spain’s King Felipe VI will deliver an address on behalf of the world leaders.
The Foreign Ministry has called the event the third-largest gathering of international leaders in Israel’s history, after the funerals of Yitzhak Rabin and Shimon Peres.
The gathering certainly fulfills King David’s vision of his capital as a gathering place for leaders.
Yerushalayim built up, a city knit together,to which tribes would make pilgrimage, the tribes of Hashem, —as was enjoined upon Yisrael— to praise the name of Hashem. There the thrones of judgment stood, thrones of the house of David. Psalms 122:3-5
This vision of King David was prophesied to be revealed before the Messiah.
At that time, they shall call Yerushalayim “Throne of Hashem,” and all nations shall assemble there, in the name of Hashem, at Yerushalayim. They shall no longer follow the willfulness of their evil hearts. Jeremiah 3:17
Rabbi Hillel Weiss, spokesman for the Sanhedrin, noted that from its pre-Abrahamic roots under King Malki-Tzedek, Jerusalem was destined to be an international forum with a higher purpose.
“Jerusalem’s nature is to make peace, to bring together, to make things one and whole,” Rabbi Weiss said, noting that the Hebrew word שלם (shalem; complete) is contained in the name of the city. “The worst lie perpetrated by the media today is portraying Jerusalem as a ‘flashpoint for violence’ or as a city divided.”
Rabbi Weiss suggested that this misconception of Jerusalem is being acted out in the upcoming event.
“There is a form of global schizophrenia when it comes to the Holocaust and Israel,” Rabbi Weiss said. “On one hand, they recognize that the Holocaust took place and it was, of course, the most horrible act by humanity in the history of the world. But while recognizing this, Europeans make a peculiar disconnect separating what happened in World War Two from their anti-Israel actions today. It is as if they believe that there is no connection between anti-Semitism and unreasonable hatred of the only Jewish state in the world.”
Rabbi Weiss illustrated this point by the conspicuous non-participation of Poland in the Jerusalem event commemorating an event that took part inside its borders. Ironically, Poland’s President Andrzej Duda announced last week that he will not attend the event because organizers had not included him as a speaker at the forum. Most of the Nazi extermination camps, including Auschwitz, were located in Poland and the Holocaust took the lives of three million Polish Jews, half of all Jews killed. Despite these facts, Poland made it a criminal offense last year to accuse it of complicity in Nazi war crimes. The law garnered criticism from many world leaders including Prime Minister Netanyahu who called it an “attempt to rewrite history.”
Rabbi Weiss quoted the Prophet, Joel.
I will gather all the nations And bring them down to the Valley of Yehoshafat. There I will contend with them Over My very own people, Yisrael, Which they scattered among the nations. For they divided My land among themselves. Joel 4:2
A true judgment includes the guilty in the hopes that he will do tshuva (repentance),” Rabbi Weiss said. “Many of the nations that will be here in Jerusalem are the very nations that took part in the Holocaust. They are also the nations that want to take Jerusalem out of the world, take it away from the Jewish people. Many of these nations support the enemies of Israel who openly proclaim their intention to continue what the Nazis began.”
Rabbi Weiss compared the event to an end-of-days litmus test, determining the true nature of the nations as was hinted in Psalms.
Hashem is great and much acclaimed in the city of our God, His holy mountain…through its citadels, Hashem has made Himself known as a haven. See, the kings joined forces; they advanced together. At the mere sight of it they were stunned, they were terrified, they panicked;they were seized there with a trembling, like a woman in the throes of labor, Psalms 48:2-7
“In Jewish tradition, we speak of Messiah as a process of giving birth and tshuva as rebirth,” Rabbi Weiss said. “It would be a cruel injustice if this event, this opportunity for admitting past sins and repenting, was turned into a forum for giving honor to the inheritors of a horrific legacy. It would be even more horrible if any of Israel’s honored guests use this Holocaust event as a forum to make statements against Israel and Jerusalem.”
The list of leaders is as follows:
US Vice President Mike Pence
US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi
President of France Emmanuel Macron
President of Austria Alexander Van der Bellen
Governor-General of Canada Julie Payette
Governor-General of Australia David Hurley
President of Russia Vladimir Putin
Prince Charles of Britain
King of the Netherlands Willem-Alexander
King Felipe VI of Spain King Philippe of Belgium
President of Italy Sergio Mattarella
President of Slovenia Borut Pahor
President of Germany Frank-Walter Steinmeier
President of Hungary János Áder
President of Greece Prokopis Pavlopoulos
Prime Minister of Sweden Stefan Löfven
President of Iceland Guðni Th. Jóhannesson
President of Ukraine Volodymyr Zolenskyy
President of Cyprus Nicos Anastasiades
President of Lithuania Gitanas Nausėda
Crown Prince Haakon of Norway
Prime Minister of Denmark Mette Frederiksen
President of Finland Sauli Niinistö
President of Portugal Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa
President of Bulgaria Rumen Radev
President of Romania Klaus Iohannis
President of Slovakia Zuzana Čaputová
Prime Minister of the Czech Republic Andrej Babiš
President of Albania Ilir Meta
President of Armenia Armen Sarkissian
President of Georgia Salome Zourabichvili
Speaker of the Latvian Parliament Ināra Mūrniece
President of Moldova Igor Dodon
Minister of State of Monaco Serge Telle
Chairman of the House of Representatives of Belarus
President of Croatia Kolinda Grabar-Kitarović
President of Serbia Aleksandar Vučić
President of Bosnia and Herzegovina Željko Komšić
Grand Duke Henri of Luxembourg
President of North Macedonia Stevo Pendarovski
President of Montenegro Milo Đukanović
President of the European Council Charles Michel
President of the European Parliament David Sassoli
Vatican Representative Kurt Koch