VICE PRESIDENT BIDEN TRIP TO ISRAEL
POOL REPORT #3 MARCH 9, 2010
From this afternoon's meeting with Netanyahu, Biden returned to the David Citadel hotel and met with opposition leader Tzipi Livni. He then taped an interview with Chris Matthews.
Around 4 p.m. Biden went to Mt. Herzl, Israel's national cemetery and, wearing a black skullcap, laid a wreath on the graves of Zionism pioneer Theodore Herzl and of late prime minister Yitzhak Rabin. The wreath of red and white flowers he laid on Rabin's grave had a banner on it that read ``The case of peace for which you fought has become our own.'' Biden, flanked by Jill, was joined by Rabin's children, Yuval and Dalia.
Biden then toured Yad Vashem, Israel's Holcaust memorial museum. After the tour, Biden kindled the eternal flame in the Hall of Remembrance. A choir sang Hannah Szenes's (sometimes written Sennesh's) song commonly known as ``Eli Eli'' (really named ``A Walk to Caesaria'' I think.) Biden laid a wreath on a rock slab beneath which lay buried ashes of Jews murdered and cremated at six concentration camps. As the prayer for the souls of those killed was chanted, the lights in the already dark hall went out for about a minute (I'm told by mistake) spooking the security as the only light came eerily from the eternal flame reflecting off the ceiling.
After signing the visitor's book at the end of his visit, Biden recalled how he took his sons to the Dachau concentration camp as teenagers so that they could understand as young men that ``mankind could be so brutal.'' ``But also I took my son here to Israel to let him know that the indomitable spirit of human beings is not able to be snuffed out,'' Biden said.
Biden signed the visitors book and said, roughly:
What I wrote in the book is as a fan of the Irish poet William Butler Yeats, writing about his Ireland, he said, too long a suffering makes a stone of the heart. What I wrote here is that every day Israel makes alive the poet's words too long a suffering makes a stone of the heart which is for world Jewry Israel is the heart. For world Jewry, Israel is the light. For world Jewry, Israel is the hope. If anyone every wondered about that they ought to take the tour of the museum. They would not doubt it again.
The word, phrase ``never again'' is used so often it almost has lost its meaning. But then again all you have to do is walk through, walk through Yad Vashem and understand how incredible, how incredible the journey has been...for world Jewry and why Israel is such a central part to its existence.
Biden's last stop for the day is back at the prime minister's residence for dinner with Netanyahu.