As the memorial siren sounded across Israel on Tuesday morning to mark Yom Hashoah, Holocaust Remembrance Day, the International Christian Embassy Jerusalem hosted more than 40,000 Christians worldwide in a live online ceremony that had viewers stand for the siren to honor the 6 million Jews who perished in the Holocaust.

Due to current health rules regarding the coronavirus in Israel, the ICEJ’s observances this year were centered around a live webinar on Tuesday morning, broadcast via Facebook and YouTube. It drew more than 40,000 viewers around the globe.

Presented in cooperation with Christian Friends of Yad Vashem (CFYV), the program began with a live shot from the “Harp Bridge” at the entrance to Jerusalem as the nationwide siren sounded, bringing traffic to a stop. Christian viewers from around the world were asked to stand in silence in their homes to honor the martyrs of the Nazi genocide against the Jews.

Hosted by ICEJ president Dr. Jürgen Bühler, the ceremony included remarks by Shaya Ben-Yehuda, managing director for international relations at Yad Vashem, Israel’s Holocaust and Remembrance museum and memorial, as well as Sari Granitza, director of Christian Friends of Yad Vashem.

The special guest of honor was Daniel Gold, a Holocaust survivor from Lithuania and Tel Aviv University professor emeritus in medical microbiology. He recalled his ordeal as a young boy surviving in ghettos and hiding for months on end under floorboards of homes to avoid detection by German-allied soldiers.

Gold arrived in Israel in the early 1950s. He served as an Israeli Air Force pilot for more than 30 years, and during three major wars, before building an impressive academic career in medical research.

The ICEJ entered a partnership with Yad Vashem in 2006 to form the special arm of Christian Friends of Yad Vashem. Its mission is to educate Christians worldwide about the universal lessons of the Holocaust and mobilize them to become active in fighting modern-day anti-Semitism in their own countries.

The ICEJ and CFYV are also raising awareness this year of the 1.5 million children who died in the Holocaust and are building a permanent exhibit at Yad Vashem to tell their story.

© 2020 American Jewish Congress.