Saturday, August 16, 2014

Nazi resister returns medal to Israel over Gaza bombs: Dutch resident saved Jewish boy from Nazis, but lost kin in Gaza airstrikes

In World War II, a Dutch man risked his life and saved a Jewish boy from the Nazis — a feat that earned Henk Zanoli Israel's prestigious Righteous Among the Nations medal after the war. Now, the 91-year-old gave it back. The reason? An Israeli airstrike killed relatives of his in the Gaza Strip. After learning the news, Zanoli went to the Israeli embassy in The Hague and returned the medal, issuing a statement detailing the sacrifices his family made resisting the Nazis during the occupation of Holland. “Against this background, it is particularly shocking and tragic that today, four generations on, our family is faced with the murder of our kin in Gaza," he wrote. "Murder carried out by the State of Israel.” In an interview with the New York Times, Zanoli made clear that his problem is with the government of Israel, not the Israeli people. “I gave back my medal because I didn’t agree with what the state of Israel is doing to my family and to the Palestinians on the whole,” he said. Zanoli's grand-niece is a Dutch diplomat who is married to a Palestinian economist, and an Israeli bomb killed three of the economist's brothers, along with other relatives. Zanoli said he felt that keeping the medal would be an insult to his family.

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