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Sirens bring Israel to a standstill to mark Holocaust Remembrance Day

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Sirens bring Israel to a standstill to mark Holocaust Remembrance Day
Israeli President Isaac Herzog pays tribute during a wreath-laying ceremony marking Holocaust Remembrance Day at Warsaw Ghetto Square at Yad Vashem memorial in Jerusalem on Thursday. Pool Photo by Amir Cohen/UPI | License Photo

April 28 (UPI) -- Israel marked Holocaust Remembrance Day on Thursday morning, with a 2-minute siren bringing the nation to a standstill.

As soon as the siren stopped, an official wreath-laying ceremony was conducted honoring the 6 million Jews systematically killed by the Nazis during World War II.

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Israel's Knesset held an "Every Person Has A Name" ceremony with national leaders and Knesset members reading out the names of their relatives killed in the Holocaust.

When the sirens sounded, traffic stopped, pedestrians stood in place and routine everyday life paused. Shops and entertainment venues closed early Wednesday evening.

During a national speech from the Yad Vashem center Wednesday, Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett said the Holocaust isn't comparable to even the most difficult wars of today.

He denounced comparisons equating other events with the Holocaust.

"No event in history, cruel as it may have been, is comparable to the Holocaust -- the extermination of Europe's Jews by the Nazis and their collaborators," Bennett said during his speech.

Bennett said, "Never, in any place or during any time, has one people acted to destroy another in such a planned, systematic and indifferent way, from a place of absolute ideology and not out of utilitarianism."

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He said the Nazis did not kill Jews to take their jobs or homes. The Nazis, Bennett said, "sought to hunt all Jews and exterminate every last one of them."

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