Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu speaks at an official ceremony marking the Holocaust Remembrance Day at Yad Vashem World Holocaust Remembrance Center in Jerusalem, on April 11, 2018. Israel marked its annual day of Holocaust remembrance on Wednesday evening with an official ceremony held in Jerusalem. (Xinhua/Du Zhen)
JERUSALEM, April 11 (Xinhua) -- Israel marked its annual day of Holocaust remembrance on Wednesday evening with an official ceremony held in Jerusalem.
From Wednesday evening to Thursday, the country will officially commemorate the genocide of 6 million Jews by Nazi Germany and its collaborators during the World War II.
The "Holocaust Martyrs' and Heroes' Remembrance Day," as it is officially called here, started with the annual ceremony at Yad Vashem World Holocaust Remembrance Center in Jerusalem.
The ceremony, attended by President Reuven Rivlin and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, began with the national flag lowered at half-mast.
During the ceremony, which was broadcast live on all major TV channels, Holocaust survivors lighted six torches to mark the 6 million Jewish victims who were killed during the Holocaust.
The ceremony featured also a traditional memorial service, including the recitation of a chapter from Psalms and the "Kaddish," a Jewish mourner's prayer by Israel's chief rabbis, Israel Rabbi David Lau and Yitzhak Yosef.
"We, the Jews, were butchered during the Holocaust, a holocaust which was aimed to wipe off the Jewish people from the face of the earth," Rivlin said in his address.
During the Holocaust Remembrance Day, places of entertainment including cafes and cinemas are closed, and memorial ceremonies are held throughout the country.
TV and radio stations only broadcast Holocaust-related contents, such as documentaries, interviews with survivors and melancholic songs.
On Thursday morning, Rivlin and Israel's top security establishment, including heads of the army, police, Mossad intelligence agency and Shin Bet security service, will travel to Poland to lead the annual "March of Living" from the gates of the concentration camp of Auschwitz to the death camp of Auschwitz-Birkenau.