Memorial Day Ceremony
The Israeli-Palestinian Memorial Day ceremony, which has been held on the eve of Memorial Day for the last eight consecutive years, comes to remind us that war is not an act of fate but human choice. This ceremony is the largest annual event held by the Combatants for Peace movement. On this particularly difficult day we call for both sides to acknowledge the pain and the aspirations of those living on the other side of the fenceand to strive to prevent the next war. Let us hope that on the next Memorial Day we will not have to acknowledge additional victims. At the ceremony, Israeli and Palestinian bereaved families speak about their personal pain.
The ceremony was held, during the few first times in the Tmuna Theater. It was initiated by Buma Inbar whose son Yotam fell in Lebanon in 1995. Since the initial event in 2006, the number of participants has increased every year. Last year about 2,500 people attended the function which was held at the Tel Aviv Exhibition Grounds. Over the years the ceremony has been attended by intellectuals and artists including Yoni Rechter, Prof. Yehuda (Judd) Ne’eman, recipient of the Israel Prize, Alon Oleartchik, Achinoam Nini, Noam Rotem, Mira Awad, Prof. Eva Illouz and others. Year after year the event attracts increasing media attention in spite of the fact that we had to deal with protests and attempts by right-wing politicians to sabotage the event.
This Israeli-Palestinian Memorial Day ceremony demonstrates the reality of empathy and mutual respect among peoples.
The ceremony demonstrates, however briefly, the possibility of peace, not on the basis of disregard for or indifference to the pain, but rather with a direct reference to the loss and bereavement on both sides. This statement, delivered by Prof. Eva Illouz at last year’s ceremony, is not radical. It is so basically human that we cannot allow anyone to thrust it to the sidelines.
This is the basis of the importance we place in the event, and in our efforts to expand it and increasingly bring it to the center of national thinking.