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Travel Pool 10: Yad Vashem Background
Mike Memoli • Los Angeles Times
May 23, 2017: 12:41 PM


Pool is loaded in vans ahead of the next scheduled movement, to Yad Vashem for a wreath-laying ceremony and guestbook signing.

Here is some background provided by the U.S. Embassy via the White House on events and personnel POTUS will see there.

Yad Vashem Press Notes

Yad Vashem, established by law in 1953, is Israel's official body entrusted with perpetuating the memory of the Holocaust. Official memorial ceremonies are held in The Hall of Remembrance, a solemn tent-like structure which allows visitors to pay their respects to the memories of the martyred dead. On the floor are the names of the six death camps and some of the concentration camps and killing sites throughout Europe. In front of the memorial flame lies a crypt containing ashes of victims. Press will enter the site via the Avenue and Garden of the Righteous Among the Nations, dedicated to non-Jews who risked their lives to help Jews, which is a wooded area with honorary plaques, like the one pictured here.

Arrival

1. Avner Shalev, Chairman of the Yad Vashem Directorate
Shalev was born in Jerusalem, and holds a bachelor's degree in Middle East Studies from the Hebrew University. During the Yom Kippur War, he served as Bureau Head of the Israel Defense Forces' (IDF) Chief of Staff, and subsequently as Chief Education Officer of the IDF. Shalev served later as Director of Israel's Culture Authority. Since 1993, Shalev has led Yad Vashem in a comprehensive program to meaningfully teach and commemorate the Holocaust. Prioritizing education, Shalev founded Yad Vashem's International School for Holocaust Education. He also conceived and established Yad Vashem's Museums Complex, including the Holocaust History Museum, for which he serves as Chief Curator, and brought about a technological revolution at Yad Vashem. Shalev also serves as Chief Curator of Yad Vashem's permanent exhibition at the Auschwitz-Birkenau (Poland) Museum's Jewish Pavilion. Under his direction, Yad Vashem was awarded the esteemed Israel Prize for Lifetime Achievement to Society and State, and the Prince of Asturias Prize for Concord. The President of France has appointed him to the Légion d'honneur. Shalev has also received the President of Israel's Medal from the late President Shimon Peres, the Hebrew University's Rothberg Award for Jewish Education, and the Worthy Citizen of Jerusalem Award. In December 2016 he was awarded the title of Commander of the Order of Civic Merit by the Kingdom of Spain.

2. Rabbi Israel Meir Lau, Chairman of the Yad Vashem Council
Rabbi Lau was born in Poland in 1937 and liberated from the Buchenwald Concentration Camp in 1945 by the U.S. Army when he immigrated to Israel. His father was a famous Rabbi who was killed during the Holocaust in Treblinka. Rabbi Lau received his Rabbinical ordination in 1960, and in 1971 was chosen as the regional Rabbi of North Tel Aviv. In 1979 he was chosen to serve as the Chief Rabbi of Netanya, and in 1983 became the youngest member of the Chief Rabbinical Council of Israel. He was chosen as the Chief Rabbi of Tel Aviv-Jaffa in 1988, and from 1993-2003, he served as the Chief Rabbi of Israel. He was chosen to serve a second time as Chief Rabbi of Tel Aviv-Jaffa in 2005, and in 2008 became Chairman of the Yad Vashem Council. He has published many books, including Judaism, in Theory and Practice; Yahel Yisrael; a Commentary on the Ethics of the Fathers; and his autobiography, Do Not Raise Your Hand Against the Boy. In 2005, Rabbi Lau received the prestigious Israel Prize for Lifetime Achievement and Special Contributions to Society and the State. In 2011 French President Nicolas Sarkozy conferred the title of Legion d'Honneur on Rabbi Lau.

3. Inbal Kvity Ben Dov, Director of the Yad Vashem Commemoration & Community Relations Division

Greetings inside the Hall of Remembrance, before ceremony

1. Margot Hershenbaum (née Goldstein), is the sister of Ester Goldstein, the Holocaust Child Victim whose personal album will be presented to POTUS (http://www.yadvashem.org/yv/en/exhibitions/albums/goldstein.asp). Margot was born in Berlin in 1929. In 1939, she was sent to Australia as part of the Kindertransport (organized rescue efforts of Jewish children between 1938-1940). She never saw her family again. She remained in Australia until 1948 when she went to live with her uncle in the United States and attended nursing school there. In 1957 she moved to Israel and became a nurse at Hadassah hospital. She met her husband Pinchas Hershenbaum (a Holocaust survivor from Lodz) and they married in 1961. They had a son and a daughter. Margot and her family settled in the town of Netanya, where she resides until today. Her husband passed away one year ago.

2. Colette Avital, Chairperson Center Organizations of Holocaust SURVIVORS in Israel
Ambassador Colette Avital immigrated to Israel from Romania. She has held a variety of key Foreign Ministry posts, including Deputy Director of Information (1979-1981), Director of the Training Division and Head of the Ehud Avriel school of Diplomacy (1984-1986), and Deputy Director General for Information, Media Communication and Culture (1986-1988). She served in Montreal, Brussels, Paris, Boston, and as Ambassador in Lisbon. She led Ministry's efforts to upgrade the status of women in Diplomatic Service, and when she was appointed Consul General of Israel in New-York in 1992, it was the highest position attained by a woman in the Foreign Service. In January 1999 she turned to politics and won a seat in the Knesset, the Israeli Parliament. In the Knesset, she formed an Inquiry Committee for the Location and Restitution of the Assets of Holocaust Victims and initiated a law to create a State Company for the restitution of these assets. She served as Deputy- Speaker of the Knesset, and was a member of the Constitution and Law Committee, the Knesset Committee and the Immigration, Absorption and Diaspora Committee. She has been awarded the Palmes Academiques and subsequently La Legion d'honneur by the French Government; the Cavaliere del'ordine della Republica by the Italian Government and the National Order for Merit with the rank of High Officer by the Rumanian Government, and she has received the highest decoration given by Portugal, the Gran Cruz do Infante Dom Henrique.

3. Yossie Hollander, Chairman, Fuel Freedom Foundation
Yossie Hollander is the co-founder of Fuel Freedom Foundation (FFF), a nonprofit dedicated to opening the transportation fuels market to competition from cheaper, cleaner, healthier American made alternative fuels. It aims to end the US oil imports and launch a trillion dollar private investment that will grow the US economy over the next two decades. Hollander, who lives in Irvine, California, is a son of Holocaust survivors and the founder and major funder of Echoes and Reflections, the largest Holocaust education program in the U.S. He is on the board of USC Shoah Foundation, which is dedicated to archiving stories from Holocaust witnesses and survivors. Hollander serves on many other boards, including the executive board and management committee of the Weizmann Institute of Science, where he launched a renewable energy initiative. He and his wife Dana founded the Dana and Yossie Hollander Center for Structural Proteomics, a world leader in the field. He also serves as the chairman of the Weizmann tenure committee. Hollander has funded research at many universities, including Cornell, MIT, UC Berkeley, the University of Chicago, and Carnegie Mellon University. He is a member of the Board of Councilors at the University of Southern California's Dornsife College. Hollander received an honorary doctorate from the Weizmann Institute in 2010.



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