Minister of Science, Culture and Sport Raleb Majadele congratulating Yad Vashem on the launching of its Arabic website
24 January 2008
On Thursday, January 24, 2008, Yad Vashem launched a new website about the Holocaust in Arabic. The Arabic website follows the successful launch of a website in Farsi last year. The Arabic website was made possible through the generous support of Stuart and Ilene Golvin of Toronto, Canada, children of late Holocaust survivor Stanley Golvin.
The website includes the historical narrative of the Holocaust, Holocaust terms and frequently asked questions, academic articles, artifacts, maps, photos, archival documents and an online video testimony resource center all translated into Arabic, as well as a special multimedia presentation of the Auschwitz Album with Arabic narration, stories of Righteous Among the Nations- including Muslims from Turkey and Albania - and the movie From Memory to Peace, which documents a joint visit of Arabs and Jews to Auschwitz. The site also contains information on the study of Arabic in Theresienstadt and the Yad Vashem exhibit, BESA: A Code of Honor: Muslim Albanians who Rescued Jews during the Holocaust.
Present at the launching of the site was Minister of Science, Culture and Sport Raleb Majadele, who congratulated Yad Vashem and said,
“as a Muslim and an Arab Israeli, who lives among and works with many Holocaust survivors, I thank Yad Vashem for its important endeavor, not just in commemorating the past but also in drawing lessons for the continued fight against racism, antisemitism, neo-nazism and other ideologies of hatred throughout the world… The Internet cannot be blocked by boundaries of censorship and hatred. Now the Arabic speaking world can learn the truth about the Holocaust.”
A special greeting by Prince El Hassan bin Talal of Jordan was screened as well (the entire greeting is available online on the Arabic website).
Holocaust survivor Dina Baitler, whose testimony, along with those of 24 other Holocaust survivors, can be viewed on the Arabic website, also spoke at the event. Baitler said:
“Holocaust denial in different countries is a proven fact. It is thus very important that they will see us, the Holocaust survivors, that they will watch our testimonies and learn about the Holocaust, all in Arabic.”
In 2007, nearly 7 million people, from more than 200 countries, visited www.yadvashem.org, including some 56,000 from Muslim countries and 32,500 from Arab countries. These figures, along with the positive response received from many Iranians over the past year, represent the increasing interest in the Holocaust in the Arab and Muslim world.
A panel discussion, “The Holocaust and the Arab World”, was held at Yad Vashem to mark the launching of the site. Participating in the discussion, moderated by journalist Smadar Perry of Yediot Achronot, were Chairman of the Yad Vashem Directorate Avner Shalev, Dr. Meir Litvak of Tel Aviv University, journalist Nazir Majali of the Saudi Arabian daily newspaper Ashraq Alawsat, and Mr. Isaac Schneebaum, the chief translator of the Arabic site.
Journalist Nazir Majali said:
“The Arabs must learn about the Holocaust from people who experienced it… if they are provided with the proper method of learning about the Holocaust, this will be a historic step that will engender a transformation amongst many Arabs in their view of Jews.”
Chairman of the Yad Vashem Directorate Avner Shalev said:
“We view with tremendous importance the launching of an Arabic website that provides objective, precise and multifaceted information about the Holocaust. We are dealing with a large and important audience, and have thus decided to provide that audience with comprehensive information about the Holocaust in its own language.”