Motorists came to a halt, pedestrians stopped with their heads bowed as the country geared up for a series of ceremonies to mark the occasion. (Agencies)
President Shimon Peres, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, Parliamentarians, Supreme Court justices, Chief of General Staff Lt Gen Benny Gantz and many other dignitaries attended the wreath laying ceremony held at Yad Vashem Holocaust museum.
The names of family members who died in Holocaust at Knesset's "Every Man Has a Name" ceremony were read out.
Knesset, unicameral national legislature of Israel, exhibits rare photos of Jewish life in Europe taken by Nazi soldiers.
Knesset Speaker Yuli Edelstein opened the ceremony, named after the poem by Zelda "Every Man Has a Name," by saying "every man must have a name, not a number, a real name, that his parents gave him."
"Half of the Jews of Vishniyeva made aliya to Israel. The other half was burned alive. Our body was split in half. Our souls remain one. They live here, in Israel, in an independent
Jewish State that cannot be destroyed," Peres said.
Netanyahu read names of his father-in-law Shmuel Ben-Artzi's family members, as well as a poem Ben-Artzi wrote mourning the loss.
Former Knesset speaker Shevach Weiss, a Holocaust survivor, spoke out against the way survivors are depicted in the media.
"We're not pitiful, even though some try to show us this way. We came here. We built families, a state," he said.
"I want the government to remember that."
During the ceremony, six candles were lit in memory of the six million who were killed.
Netanyahu at a state ceremony on Sunday evening marking the Remembrance Day urged world leaders to learn the lessons of the 1930s in an apparent reference to Iranian threat and see reality as it is, not as how they would like it to be.
While Netanyahu has in the past frequently drawn comparisons between Hitler's Germany and the Ayatollahs' Iran, he focused in his speech at Yad Vashem on retelling how the
West was paralysed against acting in time against Nazi Germany, trying to avoid conflict post World War I.
"We need to identify existential threats on time and to act against them on time," the Israeli Premier said.
"I ask, why in the years preceding the Holocaust did the vast majority of the world's leaders, and the vast majority of the leaders of our people, not see the threats beforehand?," he added.
Netanyahu argued that all the signs were apparent in retrospect - the arming of the Nazi regime from year to year, the anti-Semitic propaganda that got worse month by month, and the attacks on the Jews.
The Israeli leader said that a few world leaders, like Winston Churchill, saw the nature of the threat Nazism posed, and a few Jewish leaders, like Ze'ev Jabotinsky, warned against the oncoming destruction.
Responding to his critics who accuse him of exaggerating the Iranian threat, Netanyahu said those who warned about the Nazis were roundly criticised by people who dismissed them as "prophets of doom" and "warmongers". "I ask how it could be that so many did not understand the reality?" he questioned.
"The bitter, tragic truth is that it is not as though they did not see; they did not want to see. And the reason they chose not to see the truth is that they did not want to deal with the ramifications of that truth," the Israeli Premier emphasised.
Motorists came to a halt, pedestrians stopped with their heads bowed as the country geared up for a series of ceremonies to mark the occasion.