JERUSALEM (JTA) – Israeli President Reuven Rivlin reached out to Lilianna Segre, a Jewish-Italian Senator for Life who said she receives about 200 hate messages a day.
Milan Police last week decided to provide Segre, 89, who is a Holocaust survivor, with a police escort over the threats.
“I was appalled to hear the news that anti-Semitic threats against you require you to receive protection to ensure your safety, and deeply regret that the circumstances of me writing to you are so distressing. Your personal mission, your strength and your bravery are a role model for us in Israel and for Jewish communities around the world,” Rivlin wrote in a letter in which he invited Serge to visit him in Jerusalem.
“No words can adequately express my horror and disgust that you should be exposed to such criminal behavior. As Holocaust survivor, you have seen the terrible and tragic consequences of anti-Semitism if not stopped; as a Life Senator of the Italian Republic, you have been recognized ‘for outstanding patriotic merits’; as a campaigner for justice and against racism and anti-Semitism, you work tirelessly for a better world,” Rivlin also wrote.
Segre was deported to Auschwitz in 1944, when she was 13.
The Yad Vashem Holocaust memorial in Jerusalem said in a statement: “It is unacceptable that hate and xenophobia still plague our post-Holocaust society. Holocaust survivors like Senator Segre are living witnesses to the horrors that are possible when anti-Semitism goes unchecked.”
The statement noted that Italy’s president, Sergio Mattarella, was scheduled to attend in January the Fifth World Holocaust Forum at Yad Vashem, under the banner, “Remembering the Holocaust, Fighting Anti-Semitism.”