Doug Bandow: Remembering the Unbelievable

Roundup: Talking About History

[Doug Bandow is a senior fellow at the Cato Institute. A former Special Assistant to President Ronald Reagan, he is the author of Beyond Good Intentions: A Biblical View of Politics (Crossway).]

JERUSALEM -- Love it or hate it, Israel is unique. A young nation created amidst conflict and sustained under siege, it retains an ethic forged in the famed "exodus" from Europe after World War II. While Israel exhibits a superficial commonality with Europe -- Tel Aviv has the relaxed feel of other Mediterranean cities -- there remains a hard inner core. One might question the wisdom of particular Israeli policies, but no one should doubt the Jewish people's willingness to do whatever is necessary not to repeat the past.

The best way to understand that commitment is to visit Yad Vashem. Established in 1953 as the Holocaust Martyrs' and Heroes' Remembrance Authority, Yad Vashem (the name comes from Isaiah 56:5) is a 45-acre complex on Har Hazikaron, or the Mount of Remembrance, overlooking Jerusalem. The site commemorates the Holocaust, or Shoah (meaning totally unimaginable catastrophe). To visit the history museum is to journey back into a human nightmare highlighting the utter depravity of mankind.

When the horror did end, Israel was one of the unintended results. The museum lives up to its goal of serving "as a bridge between the world that was destroyed and the life that resumed."

A new complex opened five years ago. The museum is built into the mountain using a unique triangular design, with numerous side exhibition halls....

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