91 year old Dutchman returns Israeli honour

Henk Zanoli a 91-year-old Dutch man, who was awarded the prestigious honour ‘Righteous Among the Nations’, a title bestowed upon non-Jews who helped save Jews from the Holocaust, has returned his prize.

Mr Zanoli’s family sheltered a young Jewish boy during the Nazi occupation of Holland until the Allied liberation in 1945. Mr Zanoli returned his prize to the Israeli embassy in Den Haag, after hearing that six family relatives had been killed during an attack on their home in Gaza.

In a letter addressed to the Israeli ambassador and published in Haaretz, an Israeli newspaper, he said: “For me to hold on to the honour granted by the State of Israel, under these circumstances, will be both an insult to the memory of my courageous mother who risked her life and that of her children fighting against suppression and for the preservation of human life as well as an insult to those in my family, four generations on.”

Mr Zanoli’s father, an outspoken critic of the German occupation was deported from Holland and subsequently died in Dachau concentration camp.

“After the horror of the Holocaust, my family strongly supported the Jewish people also with regard to their aspirations to build a national home,” wrote Mr Zanoli.

“Over more than six decades I have, however, slowly come to realise that the Zionist project had from its beginning a racist element in it, in aspiring to build a state exclusively for Jews.

On Sunday July 20 an Israeli fighter jet dropped a bomb on the family home of Ismail Ziadah, the husband of Mr Zanoli’s great-niece. According to Haaretz the strike killed the family matriarch, Muftiyah, 70, three of her sons, Jamil, Omar and Youssef, Jamil’s wife, Bayan and their 12-year-old son, Shaaban.

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