People across Israel stood in silence for two minutes on Thursday as sirens blared in memory of the 6 million Jews killed in the Holocaust.
Traffic came to halt as drivers left their vehicles to take part in Holocaust Remembrance Day, Israel’s most solemn day.
Israeli television and radio will only play memorial music and Holocaust programmes as ceremonies take place throughout the country.
Later on Thursday, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu will participate in a wreath-laying ceremony at the Yad Vashem Holocaust Memorial in Jerusalem.
On the eve of Holocaust Remembrance Day, Netanyahu drew comparisons between the Nazi Regime and present-day Iran, issuing a stern warning to “not test the determination of the State of Israel.”
Israel is concerned that its arch rival Iran is boosting its military presence in Syria as the civil war there winds down.
“During the Holocaust, we were helpless, defenceless, and voiceless. In truth, our voice was not heard at all. Today we have a strong country, a strong army, and our voice is heard among the nations,” the prime minister said.
In Poland on Thursday, thousands of young Jews from around the world are set to march from the Auschwitz to Birkenau death camps in Poland on Thursday to commemorate the 6 million Jews killed in the Holocaust. Israeli President Reuven Rivlin is scheduled to lead the marchers.
The Poland march comes as Warsaw passed a controversial law setting out fines or jail time for those who blame the Polish people or state for atrocities committed by Nazi Germany during World War II.
Critics, including many in Israel, say the law is loosely formulated and could be abused to deny or negate Polish responsibility for crimes against the Jewish people.
More than 220,000 Holocaust survivors currently live in Israel, according to the Israeli Finance Ministry. The authority recently expanded its definitions of Holocaust survivors to include some Jews from Arab states.(dpa/NAN)