Ban MKs from memorial ceremony for terrorists, opposition demands

By attending, lawmakers in the Israeli government would be setting a dangerous precedent in terms of equating IDF soldiers with terrorists, says Netanyahu’s party.

By Adina Katz, World Israel News

The Likud party has called on Prime Minister Naftali Bennett to ban coalition MKs from attending a controversial Israeli-Palestinian Memorial Ceremony, in which families of terror victims and fallen soldiers are commemorated alongside Palestinian terrorists and those killed in clashes with the IDF.

“Bennett must condemn and prevent members of his coalition from attending a ceremony commemorating terrorists and comparing them to IDF soldiers on Memorial Day,” Likud said in a statement.

MKs Mossi Raz (Meretz) and Ibitsam Ma’arana Menuchin (Labor), members of the diverse coalition that includes the Islamic Ra’am party, have said that they will attend the ceremony, which is held as an alternative to Israel’s national memorial day of mourning for Israelis killed in combat and terror attacks, known as Yom Hazikaron.

Raz and Ma’arana Menuchin’s slated participation in the event have sparked major backlash from opposition lawmakers who say that members of the ruling coalition joining the ceremony sets a dangerous precedent in terms of equating IDF soldiers with terrorists.

After announcing her participation in the event on Sunday, celebrated Israeli actress Rivka Michaeli was met with harsh criticism from the Israeli public.

Former Hebrew-language hip-hop artist and social media influencer Yoav Eliassi (also known by his stage name The Shadow) slammed Michaeli on Facebook.

“You are participating in an event of desecration of the memory of our fighters who sacrificed their lives for you, and you disrespectfully put them in the same category with child-killing terrorists trying to destroy us,” he wrote.

As backlash against Michaeli grew, a number of Israel’s leading left-wing cultural and entertainment figures, including former prime minister Ehud Olmert, signed an open letter supporting her. It described the outrage over Michaeli’s participation as a “delusional campaign of incitement and violence on social media…[perpetuated] by the extreme right.”

On its website, the Israeli-Palestinian Memorial Ceremony describes itself as a response to Israel’s mainstream remembrance events, which “assert militarized nationalism and a narrow one-sided narrative.”

The site asserts that Israelis and Palestinians are locked into a “cycle of violence” and does not distinguish between innocent civilians slain in terror attacks and terrorists killed by security forces while attempting to perpetrate attacks.

The event is hosted by the Combatants for Peace group, which also maintains that there is a moral equivalence between IDF soldiers and Palestinian terrorists.

“We are a group of Palestinians and Israelis who have taken an active part in the cycle of violence in our region: Israeli soldiers serving in the IDF and Palestinians as combatants fighting to free their country, Palestine, from the Israeli occupation,” the group says on its site.