By COLlive reporter
French President Emmanuel Macron spearheaded a ceremony commemorating the 75th anniversary of the Vel d’Hiv deportations and took responsibility for France’s actions.
On July 16-17, 1942, French police officers rounded up and imprisoned 13,000 Jews. They were later transported, partly on French national railway cars, to Nazi death camps in Eastern Europe, JTA notes.
“Not a single German was involved,” Macron said, adding that he rejects “those who wish to say that Vichy’s France wasn’t representative of the French nation because “the Nazis knew they could count on the obedience” of the Vichy collaborationist government.
At Sunday’s event, Macron made a powerful statement that “We will never surrender to the expressions of hatred” and that “we will not surrender to anti-Zionism because it is a reinvention of anti-Semitism.”
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu also was among the more than 1,000 people on hand for the ceremony — the first time an Israeli prime minister had attended, JTA reports.
Netanyahu, speaking partly in French, thanked Macron for inviting him to the ceremony, calling the gesture a “strong message” attesting to the friendship between Israel and France. He said the two countries must “stand united” against “militant Islam.”
At the closing of the ceremony, Chabad Rabbi Levi Matusof presented to President Macron “Sagesse au Quotidien,” the French edition of “Daily Wisdom” insights on the Torah portion daily from the Rebbe, published by Kehot Publication Society.
“I shared with President Macron today’s lesson on the importance of words and vows, and that from every behavior one should only look to solve problems and create solutions – words echoed in the engaging message he so eloquently delivered,” Matusof said.
He said that Macron was pleased to hear that Narendra Modi, India’s Prime Minister was also presented with the English version “Daily Wisdom” during a visit to Israel last week.
VIDEO: Netanyahu speaks at the ceremony