The guest list for Yad Vashem’s commemoration of the 75th anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz contains the names of more world leaders, diplomats, politicians and other dignitaries than Holocaust survivors, Army Radio reported on Monday.
Of 800 seats at the event, only 30 have been reserved for survivors (and another 30 for their escorts).
The invitees to what the Foreign Ministry has called the third-largest gathering of international leaders in Israel’s history, after the funerals of Yitzhak Rabin and Shimon Peres, include: 47 world leaders or senior diplomats, including 26 presidents, four kings (from Spain, Holland, Belgium and Luxembourg) and four prime ministers.
When asked about the relatively few places for Holocaust survivors, Yad Vashem responded, “The event is not a public ceremony but rather a gathering of leaders,” adding that it would have been impossible to invite even a small fraction of the 100,000 Holocaust survivors living in Israel.
Nevertheless, some of the invitees were disturbed by news that so few survivors would be there. Environmental Protection Minister Zeev Elkin (Likud) said he would hand over his invitation to a survivor who wished to attend but was not invited. He called on his fellow ministers to do the same, according to The Times of Israel.
The proceedings — both a Wednesday gathering at President Reuven Rivlin’s residence and the larger Yad Vashem event on Thursday — are scheduled to be broadcast live.