The Israeli-Palestinian Memorial Day ceremony, which has been held on the eve of Memorial Day for the last eleven consecutive years, comes to remind us that war is not an act of fate but one of human choice.
This ceremony is the largest annual event held by the Combatants for Peace movement. On this particularly difficult day we call upon both sides to acknowledge the pain and the aspirations of those living on the other side of the fence and for each of us to strive to prevent the next war. Perhaps during next year’s Memorial Day, additional losses will not have to reckoned with. 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 event 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 have had to deal with protests and attempts by right-wing politicians to disrupt the occasion.
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 based on disregard for or indifference to the pain, but rather with a direct reference to the loss and bereavement on both sides.
As we do every year, on the evening Memorial Day, Combatants for Peace Movement in coalition with Parents Circle – Families Forum, will conduct the 11th Israeli-Palestinian Memorial Day Ceremony. The event will be held on May 10th 2016 at Shlomo Group Arena, Tel Aviv (Drive In Arena, near the Tel Aviv Fairgrounds.) at 9:00pm.
On this evening we all gather – Israelis and Palestinians – to remember the victims of violence on both sides, and to remind everyone that war is not an act of fate. The recent period in our region is a period of violence, tension and suffering for both people, and many additional families have already been added to the cycle of bereavement and pain.
Despite the statements that “forever we will live by the sword” and the growing gap between our leaders, we believe that this period too is not an act of fate, but of an ongoing vicious cycle of violence for which human beings alone are responsible and are the victims of. We will gather together on the evening of Memorial Day, not stand apart, because we know it is in our power as human beings to end this terrible cycle and avoid future victims.
“From the place where we are right, flowers will never grow in the spring”