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Sirens blare as Israel honours Holocaust victims

Sirens blared across Israel early Thursday as the country came to a standstill in an annual ritual honouring the six million Jews murdered during the Holocaust. People halted where they were walking, and drivers stopped their cars to get out of the vehicles as people bowed their heads in memory of the victims of the Nazi genocide. Ceremonies were planned throughout the day at Israel's national Holocaust memorial, parliament and elsewhere. Israel was founded in 1948 as a sanctuary for Jews in the wake of the Holocaust. About 165-thousand survivors live in Israel, a dwindling population that is widely honoured but struggling with poverty. Ushering in Holocaust memorial day at Yad Vashem, Israel's memorial, Prime Minister Naftali Bennett late Wednesday called on the world to stop comparing the Holocaust to other events in history. He spoke after the presidents of both Ukraine and Russia drew parallels between their ongoing war and the genocide during World War II. Israel makes a great effort to memorialise the victims of the Holocaust and make heroes of those who survived. Restaurants and places of entertainment remain closed on Holocaust memorial day, radios play sombre music and TV stations devote their programming to documentaries and other Holocaust-related material.