Israeli Icon Noa Shares The Truth Behind Israel’s Alternative Memorial Day – The Forward

Israeli Icon Noa Shares The Truth Behind Israel’s Alternative Memorial Day

A few weeks ago I had the honor of participating, for the third time, in the Alternative Memorial Day Service in Tel Aviv, together with my friend and colleague Mira Awad.

This is a joint Israeli-Palestinian event, organized by the Parent’s Circle and the Combatants for Peace. It has been taking place for the past 12 years, having grown from a small club in the Tel Aviv “underground” to a huge ceremony attended by thousands. This year, we packed 4,300 people into a Tel Aviv basketball arena, with hundreds more in the Beit Jalla, connected by video (in the last minute, Israeli authorities did not let the 300 Palestinian families enter Israel, citing “security concerns”. This did not deter anyone from attending, and technology came to our aid, connecting us all virtually if not physically).

Unfortunately, there were also about 45 Israeli right wing thugs who stood outside the arena where the event took place, cursing the bereaved families and guests as they entered and departed the hall, spitting at them and throwing bags of urine.

I was stunned by the public discourse in Israel following this event, a discourse steeped in verbal aggression and fueled by prejudice, racism and outright “non-truths”. The ugly statements these circumstances yielded, bled from Israeli media to Jewish communities throughout the U.S. and elsewhere, poisoning the minds of many well-wishing people everywhere. My goal in writing this article is to expose the lies and propaganda that have led to the public’s distorted view of this incredible ceremony, and bring the truth to light, enabling each caring individual to form an educated opinion for her/himself.

I will begin by saying that regardless of what took place in the ceremony, it was attended by scores of bereaved Israeli families. These are people who have paid the highest price imaginable for the tragic,…

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