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Thousands of Israelis, Palestinians mark Memorial Day together

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.

Palestinian and Israeli women embrace during the alternative Memorial Day ceremony, April 17, 2018. (Oren Ziv/Activestills.org)

Palestinian and Israeli women embrace during the alternative Memorial Day ceremony, April 17, 2018. (Oren Ziv/Activestills.org)

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 event, an auditorium in the city of Holon, backed out claiming that the event was “political.”

Earlier on Tuesday, Israel’s High Court ordered Defense Minister Avigdor Liberman to reverse his decision to bar entry to Israel to 110 Palestinians who were scheduled to participate in the ceremony. Last year, the Israeli army also refused to grant permits to the Palestinian participants, so a parallel event was held in Beit Jala, near Bethlehem, in the occupied West Bank.

This year’s speakers included Adi Kahlon, whose father Dov was killed in a suicide bombing in Haifa; Dr. Amal Abu Sa’ad, whose husband, Yaqub Abu Alqian, was shot and killed by Israeli police in the Bedouin village of Umm al-Hiran; Jihad Zriar, whose son, Alaa, was shot and killed by Israeli soldiers in Hebron on his way to his grandfather’s house; and author David Grossman, whose son, Uri, was killed in the Second Lebanon War.

“Alaa was more than son to me, he was a friend to me. Together we shared the burdens of life,” Jihad Zriar said during his speech. “I miss you always, but especially today.”

Israeli author David Grossman speaks at the alternative Memorial Day ceremony, April 17, 2018. (Oren Ziv/Activestills.org)

Israeli author David Grossman speaks at the alternative Memorial Day ceremony, April 17, 2018. (Oren Ziv/Activestills.org)

Grossman urged the audience to ignore the protests and controversy that surrounded the alternative Memorial Day ceremony.

“There is a lot of noise and commotion around our ceremony, but we do not forget that above all, this is a ceremony of remembrance and communion,” he said. “The noise, even if it is present, is beyond us now, because at the heart of this evening there is a deep silence — the silence of the void created by loss.”

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Recently awarded the prestigious Israel Prize, Grossman added that he would donate half of his prize money to the Bereaved Families Forum and Elifelet, an organization that supports the children of asylum seekers.

MK Dov Khenin, seated among the attendees, stated, “This ceremony and its participants present an alternative to the policies of violence and evil. This is the true hope and opportunity for peace.”

Beyond the police cordon, however, right-wing demonstrators cursed at and called participants traitors and the descendants of Nazis. Several right-wing demonstrators attacked participants as they entered, throwing stones and bottles. Police arrested at least one right-wing protester.

As the ceremony’s speakers talked of loss and grief, and the desire for peace, the demonstrators’ chants and jeers could be heard in the distance.

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    COMMENTS

    1. Baladi Akka 1948

      Personnally I would never join a Memorial for an Israeli soldier who was killed in Lebanon. Good riddance ! And I don’t care whether his father is David Grossman or not.

      Reply to Comment
      • Ido

        Personally I would never join a memorial for an Islamic Jihadist terrorist who murdered innocent people because they were Jewish. Good riddance! and I don’t care if a mother of murdered Jews, who died at the hand of people just like him, was hugging his mother in a photo-op.

        Reply to Comment
        • Ben

          While I am not going to side with either of you here and I respect your choices not to join, it is interesting to note that Baladi Akka 1948 says “Israeli” and Ido says “Jewish…Jews.”

          (And “because.” “Because they were Jewish.” (And “Islamic Jihadist blah blah blah.”) And as if innocents on the other side, inside Lebanon and outside it, were not murdered too.)

          And therein lies all the difference between honest discussion and inveterate dishonest anti-Semitizing as a reflex. And an inveterate tribalism (by the vastly stronger side) masquerading as victimhood and self-righteousness.

          (Ido spare me your me lectures on what you think I don’t know and I’ll spare you having to point out your distortions and propagandizing. Got better things to do. We won’t agree so let’s leave it at that.)

          Reply to Comment
          • Ido

            To those, like my good friend Ben here, who don’t understand the distinction: Israeli is citizenship, the citizens of Israel are called ‘Israeli’. There are Arab Israelis, Christian Israelis, etc and of course Jewish Israelis, Israel being the homeland of the Jewish people.
            ‘Jews’ refers to a nationality, one of the oldest people on earth with a distinct religion, also known as ‘Judaism’. You can be an atheist and still be a Jew (like myself).
            When Muslim terrorists yell ‘death to Israelis’ they don’t refer to the Arabs living in Israel which are also Israeli, their brothers. There refer to the Jews. Islamic Terrorist organizations base their anti-semitic doctrine on Islamic traditions and texts which call for the killing of Jews specifically, not Israelis.
            For example: Jews are referred as the vilest of animals, hated by Allah to the extent that they are destined for eternal doom (Muhammed’s description of “unbelievers”) or not to be friends with Jews (Quran 5:51) or when the Islamic end of time will come when all Jews are dead, not Israelis.
            Since 1 out of 5 Israelis is an Arab, it is common sense that Muslims don’t call for their deaths as they specifically mean Jewish Israelis, as evident by the Islamic sermons most notably in the Palestinian Authority.

            Reply to Comment
        • Baladi Akka 1948

          You’re totally off topic, the Memorial Day is commemorationg the victims, not the attackers, so your Jihadist-terrorist bullshit is totally of the topic.

          Reply to Comment
          • Ido

            And who do you think killed the victims ? Santa Claus ?
            The memorial compared the victims’ families to the families of their murderers and others who died in incidents not even remotely similar to incidents where Islamic Jihadist terrorists slaughtered Jews. This memorial is a joke.

            Reply to Comment
          • Baladi Akka 1948

            You don’t know what the hell you’re talking about ! The Memorial is for the bereaved families of VICTIMS, not of the perpetrators ! You can dump your BS about Jihadis or Jewhadis as much as you want, it still doesn’t change the facts. Now go beat another horse !

            Reply to Comment
          • Ido

            Some of the Palestinian victims were terrorists. Their families are families of known terrorists who killed Jews. You have no idea what you’re talking about. For example the Abu Ayash brothers, responsible for a terror attack with multiple victims including a 9 month old baby.
            disgusting ceremony, putting suicide bombers and their victims on the same moral high ground.

            Reply to Comment
          • Ben

            1. Yes, you are off topic.
            2. “not even remotely similar” is false. The IDF is a kind of terrorist organization. The Yesha Council is a kind of terrorist organization.

            I agree with Ilana Hammerman

            Israel Is the Terrorist
            Young Palestinians are not carrying out acts of terror- they are leading a desperate struggle against an army that is a thousand times stronger than they
            Ilana Hammerman Apr 05, 2018
            https://www.haaretz.com/opinion/.premium-israel-is-the-terrorist-1.5976966

            Reply to Comment
          • Ido

            I’m not off topic as I already explained and the IDF is not a terrorist organization, it fights terrorist organizations. If the army was reversed I won’t be having this conversation with you because myself and my family would be slaughtered by the Palestinians. Odd that Israel, with all their military power, did not turn Gaza into a smoking crater by now, especially after tens of thousands of missile and rocket attacks the Palestinians fired at Israeli cities. Israel’s army actually used unprecedented measures in warfare history to limit civilian casualties, as Hamas was using said civilians as a human shields.
            Why haven’t you addressed yet the openly stated agenda of the Palestinian leadership regarding the destruction of Israel and the murder of Jews ? how they see all of Israel, from the River to the Sea, as theirs ?

            Reply to Comment
          • Ben

            You’re so full of nonstop, mindlesss, machine-like hasbara talking points BS that it is futile to talk to you. Are you a bot?
            Bye bye.

            Reply to Comment
          • Ido

            Ben, are you “paraphrasing” again ? go ahead, prove me wrong. Start by explaining how I’m off topic. At least I hope you now grasp the distinction between ‘Israeli’ and ‘Jew’.
            Also why haven’t you addressed yet the openly stated agenda of the Palestinian leadership regarding the destruction of Israel and the murder of Jews ? how they see all of Israel, from the River to the Sea, as theirs ? Would you like me to post the list of things which you obviously had no clue about ? where you flat out lied ? where you showed that you were biased to the point of rejecting reality and substituting it with you own ?

            Reply to Comment
          • Ben

            You gotta love it. This insufferably patronizing, callow teenager tells us he “hopes” we “now grasp the distinction between ‘Israeli’ and ‘Jew’.” You can’t make this stuff up. As if the racist Judeosupremacist right wing is not bent on inexorably erasing that distinction when they want to but clinging to it when it is convenient for them.

            Geller, your “distinction,” which you astonishingly patronize us as not “understanding,” has absolutely nothing to do with Baladi Akka 1948’s point or your point.

            Besides which, the Jews are a people, they are not a “nation” in the creepy Volkisch nationalistic,” overlord sense meant by you and the rest of the Israeli right. The Jews of San Francisco and London and Budapest and Tel Aviv are not all some unitary, beehive “nation.” Or as if they all marched behind Joshua’s conquering army smoting their enemies. That’s creepy. And Israel is their homeland not their “nation state.” Nor do I subscribe to “the Arab nation” nationalistic claptrap either.

            But right, like ‘American’ is a citizenship and ‘White’ is a nationality. We understand you, Ido Geller, only too well. It happens here time and again. It is never long before one of these rightists masquerading as a “centrist” make it clear that they are really and truly, behind the masquerade, whether they even know it or not or allow themselves to admit it, a Feiglinist:

            A ‘truly’ Jewish democracy: On the ideology of Likud’s Moshe Feiglin
            https://972mag.com/a-truly-jewish-democracy-on-the-ideology-of-likuds-moshe-feiglin/62170/

            FEIGLIN: “…They [the Arabs] will never, never be fully equal citizens, in the national sense of the word….”

            Reply to Comment
          • Ido

            You obviously didn’t understand the distinction between ‘Israeli’ and ‘Jew’ as evident by your response when I pointed out how the Palestinian President himself wants a Jew-Free “Palestine”.
            I explained the distinction in detail, these are facts. You haven’t challenge a single one. This is not “patronizing”, these are hard cold facts, you can deny them as much as you like, it won’t make them go away.
            What I said has absolutely everything to do with what Baladi posted, you either didn’t understand or in a deep state of denial about this. My point was that putting suicide bombers and their victims on the same moral high ground is disgusting and I provided an example from the people who were at the ceremony. Do you understand ?
            Saying that Jews are not a nation, one of the oldest nations on earth with specific history, tradition, culture, language and even religion, is so overwhelmingly ignorant and stupid that it’s amazing.
            Your example of Jews who live in different parts of the world as a counterpoint is an insult to one’s intelligence. Does that somehow erase millenia of history ? do you still not grasp the fact that Judaism can be a nationality and a religion ? you can be a Jew and belong to whatever nationality you like, that doesn’t erase the fact that Jews are one of the oldest nationalities on earth.
            Israel is the historic homeland of the Jewish people, you can deny it as much as you like, unless you can travel back in time, that is not going to change.
            “But right, like ‘American’ is a citizenship and ‘White’ is a nationality” – saying something so stupid, wrong and so unrelated to the facts I’m pointing out is remarkable.
            And of course you finish by bringing in Feiglin as if an insane clown like him has some kind of actual authority or any kind of real world consequences to anything he says. I’m still waiting for you to provide any actual stuff which happened regarding the things you posted about Lieberman.
            Also, why haven’t you addressed yet the openly stated agenda of the Palestinian leadership regarding the destruction of Israel and the murder of Jews ? how they see all of Israel, from the River to the Sea, as theirs ?

            Reply to Comment
          • Ido

            The article is a premium Ha’aretz content behind a paywall. I like Ha’aretz (not as they intended though) but not enough to pay for it. Can you provide a summary ?

            Reply to Comment
          • Ben

            Right off the bat Ido brazenly repeats a lie, the “Jew-free” lie, a lie meant to distract and demonize. (Elsewhere Ido had the idea that we might not get it so he helpfully “explained” to us that “The Germans had a word for it, it was ‘Judenrein’.” You don’t say? Gott im Himmel. Could Ido please try to be less cartoonishly anti-Semitizing? And cartoonishly patronizing.)

            Then we get:

            “Israel is the historic homeland of the Jewish people, you can deny it as much as you like” –

            – as a strawman-creating non sequitur to our saying “Israel is their homeland not their ‘nation state’.”

            What is left over is a bunch of huffing and puffing about “denial … stupid … ignorant … disgusting … stupid …”

            More to follow.

            Reply to Comment
          • Ben

            Then, Ido’s response to “like ‘American’ is a citizenship and ‘White’ is a nationality” is that this is “saying something so stupid, wrong and so unrelated to the facts I’m pointing out.”

            Whistling through this denunciation of Ido’s is the idea that Israel is unique, special, distinctive among 21st century nations in a particular way—and not an historical and cultural way, not in a ‘homeland” way, but in a way deserving a strong form of ethnocracy and ethnic nationalism; not in the good sense of “homeland” but in the sense of “nation” with all the overlord status that implies in this context. In the sense in which Israel is a “nation” but yet the non-Jewish citizens of that very same “nation” do not share Israeli nation-ality because their race does not permit it. This is the game being played.

            This problem is explained with crystal clarity by Noam Sheizaf:

            September 11, 2013
            Why I oppose recognizing Israel as a Jewish state
            A country can, at least in theory, be ‘Israeli and democratic.’ It cannot and will never be ‘Jewish and democratic.’
            https://972mag.com/why-i-oppose-recognizing-israel-as-a-jewish-state/78751/

            More to follow.

            Reply to Comment
          • Ido

            I repeat: Jews are a nation with common history, tradition, culture, language and even religion. One of the oldest on earth. This is a fact, refusing to acknowledge this is ridiculous. Now this is the part that you seem to have some difficulty with: ‘Jew’ is also a religion and you can be a Jew and not be part on the Jewish people. You can also be part of the Jewish people and not be a religious Jew, like myself.
            I know this is confusing but do try to keep up.
            And you lie again: “Israel is unique, special, distinctive among 21st century nations” – I didn’t say that. I explained that Jews are a nation, meaning they have a distinct common history, tradition, culture, language and religion. The definition of ‘nation’. You failed to understand something this simple ?
            “This problem is explained with crystal clarity by Noam Sheizaf” – sure, an opinion piece by a post-Zionist ultra leftist who like you doesn’t seem to know what Israel’s declaration of independence says quite clearly about Israel, the homeland of the Jewish people.

            Reply to Comment
          • Ido

            Why do you keep lying about this ? I explained the distinction between ‘Israeli’ and ‘Jew’ in detail and how what the Palestinian President said means exactly what I said. Why are you lying about me again ?
            You think the Palestinian President calls for the deaths of Arabs who are Israeli citizens ? he refuses to allow them to enter his, uh, future “Palestine” ? how do you rationalize this to yourself ?
            I don’t need any more proof that you have no idea what the difference is between ‘Jew’ and ‘Israeli’ is but thanks anyway.
            ‘Judenrein’ means ‘Jew-Free’, exactly what the Palestinian President himself wants. How is this too hard for you to grasp ? I explained this in detail 3 times now. It’s hilarious that you mention Anti-semitism because you are yet to address the multiple times I proved how the Palestinian President himself is a well known anti-semite and Holocaust denier, to the point of literally having a PhD in Holocaust denial:
            http://www.tabletmag.com/scroll/170686/mahmoud-abbas-still-a-holocaust-denier

            You had a problem accepting the fact that Jews are a nation and Israel is their historic homeland, how is that a “strawman-creating non sequitur” ? you basically denied reality and basic history which is amazing.

            Reply to Comment
          • john

            ‘because homeland as such is only a secondary component in Jewish identity, its loss need not erase and annul the national identity’ from ab yehoshua.

            Reply to Comment
          • Ben

            That all was followed by Ido’s reflexive denial that he, Ido Geller, could ever, ever have anything to do with Moshe Feiglin, and herein lies the usual refusal to see how Israelis like him flirt with Feiglinism all the time while pretending not to, dressing themselves as something different, but never owning up to the implications of the claptrap about “we are a nation” and what they really mean by that when you follow out the implications and you follow out what really happens on the ground today, not tomorrow, today, in Israel and the territories it occupies.

            Do not treat us to pedantic, patronizing lessons on citizens and nations. As if we had not heard this rationale hundreds of times. The whole thing is not innocent. It is designed to reserve a permanently elevated place for Jewish citizens and make Arabs second or third class citizens. Because what Ido really means (and inevitably must mean in this context, whatever protestations to the contrary) by “Jews are a nation” and Israel is a “nation state” is clearly explained by both Tomer Persico (on Feiglin) and Noam Sheizaf (on “a Jewish state”). To whom we have linked on this page.

            Reply to Comment
          • Ido

            And you continue to lie about me as if I have anything to do with a deranged clown like Moshe Feiglin, even after I explained this to you several times.
            How does that works when I support Israel’s dismantling of West Bank settlements ? or giving East Jerusalem to the Palestinians as part of a peace agreement ? classic “Feiglinism” is it not ?
            And you continue to lie: “It is designed to reserve a permanently elevated place for Jewish citizens and make Arabs second or third class citizens” no it doesn’t, read Israel’s declaration of independence.

            Reply to Comment
          • Ben

            None of these are useful answers and betray a basic incomprehension of what I said and what we are talking about. I know you by now, however, and know that seeking clarifications from you will only expand the mess.
            Bye bye.

            Reply to Comment
          • Ido

            As usual I explained in detail where you were wrong, where you lied and where you had no idea what you’re talking about in general. Points which you are yet to address. Again. For example: the difference between ‘Israeli’ and ‘Jew’, with detailed explanation and examples. How the Palestinian President himself is an anti-semite and a Holocaust denier, how I proved you and Baladi wrong when I gave you an example of parents of known terrorists who participate in the ceremony and why I find this disgusting,
            You saying that Jews are not a nation, one of the oldest nations on earth, this is literally insane. Your hilarious attempt to refute my claim only cemented the fact that you have absolutely no idea what ‘Jew’ and ‘Israeli’ means as the examples I provided to counter your nonsense illustrate quite clearly.
            How Israel is the historic homeland of the Jewish people, a historic fact. You are literally claiming reality, which you can literally dig from the ground and stare at, is wrong.
            How you again and again lie about me: saying things I never did about Israel (“special and unique among 21st century nations”), saying I have anything to do with Feiglin. Would you like more examples ? I can scroll back to older articles, there is quite a bit more.

            Reply to Comment
    2. Itshak Gordin Halevy

      Not a word of congratulation for the State of Israel which is celebrating today the seventieth anniversary of its rebirth. Leftists are the shame of the Jewish people. That is why they are inaudible here in Israel.

      Reply to Comment
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