After numerous venues backed out of hosting the ceremony and the High Court had to intervene to allow Palestinian participants to join, the crowd exceeded capacity. Right-wing Israelis protest outside. Nearly 7,000 Israelis and Palestinians held an alternative Memorial Day ceremony in Tel Aviv Tuesday night, organized by the Bereaved Families Forum and Combatants for Peace. The overflow crowd was far beyond the capacity organizers had prepared for, and a significant portion of the participants were forced to stand or sit on the ground. The Israeli-Palestinian memorial event was held outdoors in HaYarkon Park after the initial venue for the…Read More... | 27 Comments
Seven years have passed since that day I tried to jump. Seven years in which I hardly told anyone this story. But now it is time to speak out — for myself and for all the others who were forgotten or silenced by the system. By Sapir Sluzker-Amran I tried to commit suicide in the army. One day during training, a few weeks after I was enlisted, I climbed the railing of the third or fourth story of building on my base, and stood with one foot out in the air, while my hand held on to the rail. Soldiers…Read More... | 2 Comments
The Israeli Defense Ministry canceled all permits for Palestinian peace activists from the West Bank to attend a joint ceremony on the eve of Memorial Day. For the first time in the 12 years since its founding, Sunday’s joint Israeli-Palestinian Memorial Day ceremony will take place in Tel Aviv without Palestinian peace activists. In previous years the Israeli Ministry of Defense has allowed tens and even hundreds of Palestinians into Israel so they can attend the event; on this occasion, however, every single permit was canceled. The Defense Ministry claims its decision was in response to the stabbing attack that took…Read More... | 20 Comments
For those of us who confront the realities of what goes on here every day, especially those of us who cannot escape it, or who make it part of our profession, every day is a form of Memorial Day and Independence Day. That is what we are trying to change. I went to one of my regular 6:45 p.m. yoga classes Tuesday night, knowing that at 8 p.m., just 15 minutes before the class ended, a siren for fallen soldiers and terror victims would sound. It was Israel's Memorial Day. I wondered what I would do. I didn’t want to…Read More... | 1 Comment
The Samaria Settler Council, the same group that recently released a video defaming human rights groups with anti-Semitic imagery, petitions the defense minister to stop Palestinians from participating in, and to pass a law banning an alternative Israeli-Palestinian Memorial Day ceremony. An Israeli settler group is trying to shut down the 10th annual joint Israeli-Palestinian memorial day ceremony put on by Combatants for Peace and the Parents Circle Families Forum, which is set to take place this Tuesday. The Samaria Settler Council asked the Israeli defense minister not to grant entry permits to the Palestinian participants in the ceremony, which…Read More... | 8 Comments
The nationalist machine tries to ‘sell’ city residents a story about honoring ‘defenders.’ But the latter respond: they are not defending anything anymore. They died and all that was left is a monument. By Eyal Sagi Bizjawi The central square in Bat-Yam, my hometown, is known as “the matseva” ("the headstone" or “monument”). As a child I did not really get the point. I knew the word “headstone” from graveyards, and I knew my grandmother had one. I did not know how my grandmother had a headstone on one side of the city, on the Holon border while there is another…Read More...
This year's Memorial Day and Independence Day come at a time of increasing incidents of terror against the Palestinian population in both Israel and the West Bank. And yet, Palestinians are the ones being put under total closure. The Israeli military imposed a closure on Palestinians in the West Bank as of 6 p.m. local time Sunday that will continue throughout Memorial Day and end following Independence Day Tuesday night at 23:59 p.m. This means that in addition to their routine lack of freedom of movement, Palestinians will be under curfew and only emergency humanitarian cases will be considered for…Read More...
Last month, Israel commemorated Memorial Day. While the mainstream media extensively covered official Memorial Day ceremonies, alternative ceremonies were ignored. Also in the roundup: NGO Zochrot publishes a new map showing hundreds of Arab villages that were destroyed between 1948 and 1967, including a tour to Deir Yassin and a "march of return."Read More... | 2 Comments
Today is not only a day of sadness for fallen Israeli soldiers, it's also one of public declarations that all those bloody conflicts were righteous and necessary - just like the current ones and those that lie ahead. Maybe in another country, a country that goes to war once in a generation or longer, Memorial Day can be a day strictly of sadness for the soldiers who were killed, and can even be a day to look back and ask: Was that war, or the one before it, really necessary? Did some of these soldiers we're mourning, did this family's…Read More... | 8 Comments
For the past few years, I’ve been debating within my head the whole standing during the sirens issue. Both on Holocaust Memorial Day, and today for fallen soldiers. Something about the rituals on both days bother me, and at times it gives me the creeps in a “big brother” kind of way. The way a state can make so many citizens stand still for two minutes seems like a bit too much control for my liking. I guess that’s one of the reasons (among many) I decided to attend the alternative Combatants for Peace Memorial Day ceremony last night. Yet,…Read More... | 5 Comments
From Eilat to Kmehin via Eritrea, the days of yore, and the middle of nowhere Tonight at sundown, the Day of Remembrance for Fallen Soldiers and Victims of Terrorism will begin. I picked a fitting city in which to pass this evening. Eilat is the one Israeli town that never knew war. In 1948, Palmach units arrived at this stretch of coastline and found it vacant. The forces of the Arab legion withdrew of their own accord, and the minute hamlet of Umm Rashrash was abandoned. The combatants produced a flag using a bed sheet and a small ink jar…Read More... | 18 Comments
In response to a joint Israeli-Palestinian memorial ceremony organized by "Combatants for Peace" in the Tel Aviv Harbor, Naomi Enoch, chair of the state-owned company that operates the harbor, said that the ceremony was an outrage, and condemned its participants. In the last year, 67 Palestinians were killed by Israel, and four Israeli citizens were killed by Palestinians. "Combatants for Peace," a movement of Israeli and Palestinian ex-fighters devoted to reconciliation, ending the occupation and peace, holds a ceremony each year on the eve Israeli Memorial Day in commemoration of everyone who died in the conflict. This year, the event was held…Read More... | 41 Comments
Not kidding. According to Haaretz, the Education Ministry has found a particularly macabre way of imbibing our young ones with respect for their heritage: Each junior high to high school students will adopt "a memorial or the tomb of a soldier fallen in the War of Independence." They will be tasked with keeping the tombs clean, and will have to write a report about the dead person or persons buried under or commemorated by their pet cenotaph as part of their matriculation exam. I'm sorry, I have every respect for families who lost their loved ones to the conflict, but…Read More... | 15 Comments
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