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JERUSALEM (AP) _ Israel paused Monday to remember the 6 million Jews who were killed by German Nazis and their collaborators during World War II in a memorial day that began with a ceremony at Yad Vashem, the national shrine devoted to Holocaust research and remembrance.

Restaurants and places of entertainment closed as the remembrance day began at sundown. On Tuesday morning, air raid sirens were to sound around the country. Later, at the parliament building, schools and other public places, Israelis were to read names of some of the victims.

The Nazi Holocaust is recognized as the greatest tragedy to befall the Jewish people in modern times, and Holocaust images frequently color public discussion.

On the eve of the memorial day, Tel Aviv University released its annual report on worldwide anti-Semitism, and found a serious upsurge in violent anti-Jewish acts after the Sept. 11 terror attacks on the United States and again after Israel began its large-scale incursion into Palestinian-controlled territory in the West Bank on March 29, following a series of Palestinian bomb attacks.

At the opening ceremony, Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon drew a connecting line between the Holocaust and Israel's 18-month-long conflict with the Palestinians.

``With the difficult struggle we are engaged in today, with the wave of anti-Semitism sweeping across Europe, we, who remember (the victims) every day, are obligated, as Jews and human beings, to defend our home,'' he said.