JERUSALEM – Israel has come to a standstill as people stopped in their tracks for a two-minute siren that wailed across the country in remembrance of the Holocaust's 6 million Jewish victims.
The ritual is the centerpiece of Israel's annual Holocaust Remembrance Day for those systematically killed by Nazi Germany and its collaborators during World War II. Motorists pulled over on Monday morning, stepping outside their vehicles, heads bowed in silence.
It's one of the most melancholy days on Israel's calendar. Solemn ceremonies are held in schools and community centers. Cafes and places of entertainment shut down while TV and radio stations broadcast documentaries about the Holocaust and its victims.
The Holocaust wiped out a third of world Jewry. Israel was established in 1948 and hundreds of thousands of survivors fled there.