In a change of venue from past years, and in salute to the strong bond between March of Life and ADI Negev-Nahalat Eran, this year’s March of the Nations parade took place in the South, beginning at the rehabilitation village. The annual march, the purpose of which is to denounce anti-Semitism and demonstrate support for Israel, passed through the village and made its way through the Merhavim Regional Council area.
Employees, students and village residents as well as Merhavim Kiryat Chinuch high school students and Regional Council representatives joined March of Nations participants from over 10 countries, including Germany, Finland, North Ireland, Ukraine, New Zealand, China, Turkey, Scotland, Romania and the US, some of whom are descendants of Nazis, creating a crowd of over 250 people. The pro-Israel March of Life organization is active in over 400 cities in 25 countries and has brings thousands of people to Israel for the parade each year as a sign of support.
In a pre-march ceremony, youthful participants told how their ancestors took part in the attempt to destroy the Jewish People during the Second World War, and apologized for the parts their families played. Ceremony participants included Avi Wortzman, CEO of the village, Shai Hajaj, head of the Merchavim Regional Council, Jobst Bittner, founder and chair of March of Life and Yigal Ibn Zev, director of March of Life, Israel.
Expounding upon the importance of repentance and atonement in Judaism, Regional Council Head Shai Hajaj commented that, “Acknowledging the sin is often the most difficult part. This is even harder when it is the sin of someone dear to us, someone we love. You did not sin. The opposite is true. You behave with an immeasurable sense of humanity, and you admit the sins of your forefathers and try to atone. People who atone for their sins reach a special level in Judaism, and you, who are atoning for the sins of others, have reached an even higher level.”
Major-Gen. (Res.) Doron Almog, founder and chairman of ADI Negev-Nahalat Eran, added that, “the March of Life together, with the students and residents of ADI Negev-Nahalat Eran, the Merhavim Regional Council and students of the Merhavim High School is a shout-out against anti-semitism throughout the world. A new generation of German youth seeking to atone for the atrocities of the previous generation stands up to proclaim, ‘No more!’ No more to the ideology of a superior race. No more to hatred of the Jewish people. No more to hurting those with disabilities, the weak and the defenseless. This march is an expression of atonement, forgiveness and prayer for healing between nations and people throughout the world.”