Jewish-owned building in Gaza. Sign on roof: "Sharon is a Kopo" [sic].
The Jerusalem Post reports:
In a controversial move, a Chabad rabbi who vehemently opposed Israel's pullout from the Gaza Strip is planning to establish a memorial center commemorating the destruction of the Gaza settlements, where photographs of soldiers and police who took part in the 'holocaust' of evacuations will be displayed alongside documentation of the former settlements.
The memorial, which is slated to be established in Jerusalem in the coming months, will be a "Yad Vashem for Gush Katif," said Rabbi Shalom Wolpe, one of the project's initiators.
The plan drew immediate criticism from both Yad Vashem, who called the purported linkage to the Holocaust and to its name nothing short of "revolting," as well as from Holocaust survivors, who have often been offended and hurt by such extreme comparisons.
"The repeated use of the Holocaust as part of a political struggle is revolting and unacceptable. Such usage necessarily results in baseless comparisons which cheapen the memory of the Holocaust, are rooted in Holocaust denial, and cause damage to Holocaust survivors and to the basic values of our existence as a nation," Yad Vashem spokeswoman Iris Rosenberg said in a statement.
The proposed memorial, which will be privately funded, comes amid a wrenching national debate in Israel over the use of Holocaust symbols by some fringe opponents of the Gaza withdrawal.
Extremist opponents of the Gaza pullout shouted "Nazis" at soldiers, with some even wearing yellow - or orange - stars of David on their clothes.
Wolpe, a Kiryat Gat rabbi who is chairman of Chabad?s Center for Protecting the People and the Land, said in a telephone interview Wednesday that he was not trying to link the memorial to the Holocaust - "It is horrible enough as it is without connection to the Holocaust" - noting he would not name the center Yad Vashem for Gush Katif, even though he openly defined the plan as such.
At the same time, he said that it was imperative for the nation of Israel "to remember and not to forget" the 21 Jewish settlements, choosing the same Hebrew words commonly used to emphasize Holocaust remembrance.
"It is the first time in history that Jews expelled other Jews from their homes and demolished synagogues," he said.
The international Chabad movement has been adamantly opposed to the disengagement plan since it was first proposed nearly two years ago.
"It is very sad that people exploit the name of the Holocaust for political ends," he concluded.