The largest high-level event since the creation of the State of Israel will take place in Jerusalem this week to mark 75 years since the liberation of Auschwitz.

An unprecedented number of international dignitaries with 47 delegations of kings, presidents and other world leaders will attend the the event titled “Remembering the Holocaust: Fighting Antisemitism,” hosted by President Reuven Rivlin.

According to the head of police operations, Commander Yishai Shalem, the 5th World Holocaust Forum at the Yad Vashem Holocaust memorial and museum is expected to be one of the largest and most complex security operations ever for the Israel Police.

Among those attending are Prince Charles, King Felipe VI of Spain, Russian President Vladimir Putin, French President Emmanuel Macron, German President Frank-Walter Steinmeier, as well as US Vice President Mike Pence.

It’s “the biggest event since the establishment of the state,” Foreign Minister Israel Katz said in a video message on Thursday.


The first portion of the event — a state dinner hosted at the President’s Residence — will be held on Wednesday evening. A memorial dedication — commemorating the Soviet Union’s victory in Leningrad — will be held on Thursday at approximately 11 a.m. in Jerusalem’s Sacher Park, followed by the main ceremony at Yad Vashem on Thursday afternoon.
Rivlin is expected to meet with almost every leader for half an hour each, and plans to discuss the relations between Israel and their countries, as well as issues important to each country’s Jewish community.
President’s Residence director-general Harel Tubi says the numbers went beyond what he had expected, which was perhaps a dozen leaders. Tubi credited personal letters from Rivlin to all of the heads of state for bringing in nearly everyone invited.

According to Tubi, the value of the event goes beyond the amount of visitors; it’s the message that matters. The theme of the event ties remembering the past, the Holocaust, with a mission for the present and future, fighting antisemitism, he said.

Foreign Ministry spokesman Lior Haiat explained that “every visitor increases the power of the event,” pointing to “some of the most important people in the world” who are expected to attend.

Israeli Foreign Minister Israel Katz, whose ministry is responsible for all the arrangements related to the leaders’ visits, told JNS that “this is the largest diplomatic event in the state’s history,” adding that “the Foreign Ministry is prepared.”

A child of Holocaust survivors himself, Katz said, “I see it as a moral obligation to fight against all antisemitism, and the gathering will focus on the importance of both remembering the Holocaust and combating antisemitism wherever it rears its head.”

Yad Vashem Chairman Avner Shalev told JNS that the current resurgence of antisemitism worldwide makes this year’s event more important than ever.

“This World Holocaust Forum is taking place against the background of a rise in hateful and violent expressions of antisemitism. This alarming situation makes this event more crucial and relevant than ever and strengthens the importance of efforts to educate about the dangers of antisemitism, racism and xenophobia, and foster Holocaust commemoration and research worldwide,” said Shalev.

This specific gathering, he continued, “Provides an opportunity for all of these heads of state to stand united and clearly declare their commitment to remembering the Holocaust, to engage in true introspection about the origins and events of the Holocaust, and ultimately to fight modern-day expressions of antisemitism and other forms of hatred.”

The list of world leaders attending include:

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

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