After three years as an exclusively online event due to the Covid-19 pandemic, this year’s Israeli-Palestinian Joint Memorial Day event will be held in Tel Aviv’s Hayarkon Park. At the 18th Israeli-Palestinian Memorial Day, which will be organized by the Forum for Bereaved Families and Combatants for Peace and supported by NIF, members of four Israeli and Palestinian bereaved families will speak.
Amid the current political mayhem in Israel, It remains unclear whether the Ministry of Defense will allow Palestinians from the West Bank to attend the event. When the event was last held in person in 2019, then-Minister of Defense Avigdor Liberman worked to prevent Palestinians from attending. At the time, the High Court of Justice ruled that 100 Palestinian families could enter Israel and attend the event. If the Defense Ministry attempts the same stunt this time, it is impossible to know if the court will be willing or able to intervene.
Back then, Judge Yitzhak Amit wrote, “There are 99 ways to commemorate. 99 ways to express bereavement. The Minister of Defense must not intervene in the way a family wishes to express its bereavement and their own sadness and grief over the untimely passing of their beloved. The petitioners before us unite bereaved families who chose to express and commemorate their loved ones in the joint ceremony. It is not for us to interfere in their choice.”
Ayala Shalev, the event’s manager, told Haaretz that, “Our message is both important and legitimate. We do not live alone but have partners in our homeland. The time has come to see them and take them into account in our lives. When we remember together the loved ones that we have lost in this conflict, we are doing exactly that. And that is right even if the current government thinks otherwise – threats and intimidation won’t help.”
PS – if you’d like to attend the virtual Joint Memorial Ceremony hosted by American Friends of Combatants for Peace and The Parents Circle – Bereaved Families Forum, you can do so at: https://afcfp.org/memorial/