A Dutchman honoured by Israel for hiding a Jewish child during World War Two has handed back his medal after six of his relatives were killed in an Israeli air strike on Gaza. Henk Zanoli, 91, wrote to the Israeli embassy in The Hague to say he could no longer hold the honour, a BBC report said. He said an Israeli F-16 had destroyed his great-niece’s home in Gaza, killing all inside, in the recent offensive.
The Israeli embassy has declined to comment on Zanoli’s action. Zanoli and his mother were awarded the “Righteous Among the Nations” honour by Israel in 2011 for helping to shelter a Jewish child from the Nazis in their family home from 1943-45, the report. “The award is accorded to non-Jews who risked their lives to protect and save Jews during the Holocaust. However, Zanoli said in a letter published by Israel’s Haaretz newspaper that “to hold on to the honour granted to me by the State of Israel under these circumstances, would be an insult… to those in my family, four generations on, who lost no less than six of their relatives in Gaza.
“His great-niece is a Dutch diplomat who is married to Palestinian economist Ismail Ziadah, who was born in a refugee camp in central Gaza. Ziadah’s mother, three brothers, a sister-in-law and nine-year-old nephew were all killed after their family home was hit by Israeli aircraft,” the report added.