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Elkana Bar Eitan
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Our goal should be to overcome victimhood, not claim it

Take inspiration from Holocaust survivors' decision to move forward and rebuild – it's the secret sauce of the Jewish People
FILE PHOTO 6APR48 - Newly arriving Jewish refugee from the Nazi Holocaust wave from the ship "S.S. Awarea" as it pulls into Haifa port on April 6, 1948, five weeks before David Ben Gurion declared Israel a state on May 14, 1948. The ship brought in immigrants who had been stopped en route to Palestine after World War II and held in camps in Cyprus. Israel has absorbed well over two million Jews in its first 50 years, immigrants from Europe, the Middle East, North and South America and Africa drawn by the promise of shelter from adversity in the diaspora or a better Jewish way of life. They include 250,000 survivors of the Holocaust, Hitler's genocide of one third of the world's Jews. (Reuters)
FILE PHOTO 6APR48 - Newly arriving Jewish refugee from the Nazi Holocaust wave from the ship "S.S. Awarea" as it pulls into Haifa port on April 6, 1948, five weeks before David Ben Gurion declared Israel a state on May 14, 1948. The ship brought in immigrants who had been stopped en route to Palestine after World War II and held in camps in Cyprus. Israel has absorbed well over two million Jews in its first 50 years, immigrants from Europe, the Middle East, North and South America and Africa drawn by the promise of shelter from adversity in the diaspora or a better Jewish way of life. They include 250,000 survivors of the Holocaust, Hitler's genocide of one third of the world's Jews. (Reuters)

As we approach the Israeli Holocaust Memorial Day, I highly recommend taking the time and meeting with the last remaining Holocaust survivors. If not in person, join a virtual event. Their strength and wisdom is priceless.

Last night I had the honor to meet one of the most incredible human beings in the world. Holocaust survivor Miriam Harel, 99 years old, sharp like a blade, clever, and hilarious. Born and raised in Lodz, Poland, 14 years old when the Germans invaded Poland. Miriam survived the horrors of the Lodz ghetto, Auschwitz, and Bergen Belsen death camps and was liberated by the American army in April 1945. Miriam’s life story should be taught in every school in the world. Miriam’s positive attitude and optimism should guide us during these difficult times. Wearing the Israeli hostages’ dog tag on her neck, Miriam felt like a torch of hope and light during these dark times.

During the lecture, Miriam spoke about her decision to move forward and rebuild her life. She met her husband in a DP camp and gave birth to their first son in a British detention camp in Cyprus (where they were held prisoners for a year due to trying to immigrate to Israel).
Miriam was a victim of the worst genocide in mankind’s history. She lost nearly all her family and experienced hell on earth. Yet she chose to live. Miriam chose to bring life to this world, to spread hope and love. She raised a beautiful family and led an impressive career as a librarian. Her children are successful doctors and scientists. Her grandchildren continued on that same path of higher education, hard work, and productivity.
This is the secret sauce of the Jewish People, and it is why Israel has become a successful modern country.
Our enemies represent the exact opposite. Investing endless efforts trying to claim victimhood and wasting their lives spreading lies and hate. Western societies must wake up before it’s too late.
A few days ago, I came across a social media post in which a young American Jewish student explains that she is optimistic about the world realizing that Jews are the true victims. She seemed excited and happy to potentially receive the victimhood recognition. I believe that this is so wrong.
I believe that humans have the ability to overcome many challenges and lead meaningful lives. Western societies and democratic states offer great opportunities. Embrace Miriam’s values! Learn from the success of the Jewish People and the only Jewish State.
Remember the past, and learn from the past. But Move forward.
About the Author
Elkana is an entrepreneur and business manager with a deep passion for education. Since 2007, Elkana has been in the field of experiential education and social entrepreneurship, focusing on community building, social awareness, humanities, and Jewish identity. Elkana currently resides in Eshhar, together with his wife, two daughters, and son.
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