Photo credit: Gili Getz
In the largest Joint Israeli-Palestinian Memorial Day in Israel’s history, an estimated 15,000 people attended the ceremony in Tel Aviv’s Ganei Yehoshua Park last week. Another 300,000 tuned in to the event live online. In recognition of the importance of the Joint Memorial Day Ceremony and given the growing attack on equality, justice, and democracy in Israel, NIF, which always helps underwrite the event, increased its support significantly this year.
Unfortunately and unsurprisingly, Minister of Defense Yoav Gallant attempted to block Palestinians from the West Bank from attending the event. However, the High Court of Justice overruled Gallant, stating that “neither side in the Israeli public has a monopoly on the way in which a bereaved family may express its grief and pain on Memorial Day.”
Combatants for Peace and Parents Circle — Bereaved Families Forum organized the event. Haaretz reporter Ran Shimoni wrote, “Thanks to the judicial coup, the Israeli-Palestinian memorial ceremony was the most unifying it has ever been. Attending the Israeli-Palestinian memorial ceremony requires empathy in a truly subversive sense — the aim is the ability to put yourself in the other’s shoes, and from this the possibility of real change becomes possible.”
Among those present was a delegation from the US Embassy headed by George Noll, chief of the Office of Palestinian Affairs.