'Decision not to split holidays 'purposely delayed''

5,000 sign petition calling on government to insert 24 hours between solemnity of Remembrance Day and joyousness of Independence Day.

May 9, 2011 02:43
2 minute read.
Woman at soldier's grave

Woman at soldier's grave 311. (photo credit: Nir Elias/Reuters)


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The Defense Ministry revealed on Sunday that it had quietly rejected a petition by bereaved families to institute a full day of separation between Remembrance Day and Independence Day.

Petitioners complained that the ministry had dragged its feet in issuing an official announcement of the decision.

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Attorney Yosef Tamir and Shmuel Tamir-Chouraqui, the son and grandson of the late justice minister Shmuel Tamir, whose IAF pilot son, Lt. David Tamir, was killed along with nine others when their helicopter crashed on July 8, 1971, began their push to separate the two emotionally polar days in 2009.

They, together with other relatives of the fallen, said that “bereaved families also have a desire to celebrate Independence Day, but the proximity to Remembrance Day prevents us from being able to release ourselves from the feelings of pain and to celebrate with the rest of the nation of Israel.”

The stark transition that characterizes the shift between the two national events, they said, was too difficult for families, and prevented them from being able to appropriately grieve on Remembrance Day and from celebrating on Independence Day.

“We feel as though it is the people who paid the heaviest price, are ironically the ones who cannot participate in the happiness and find themselves ‘outside the camp,’” said Tamir-Chouraqui, 23, who spearheaded the effort, including opening a page dedicated to the petition on Facebook.

“This situation in which in the course of the mourning you already hear calls of “Happy Holiday,” people speak about the parties that they will have that evening, and the fireworks are already being fired skywards, is unbearable and infuriating.

We must push Remembrance Day back by one day out of respect for the fallen, for the bereaved families and for all of us.”

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More than 5,000 people, including MKs, public figures and bereaved family members signed the petition.

The Tamirs submitted the it in 2010, asking that the proposal be considered by the Public Committee for the Commemoration of the Soldier, a civilian body consisting of representatives of both bereaved relatives and the general public. The committee, whose 27 members are appointed by the defense minister, determines the procedures for civil commemoration of military deaths.

But, Tamir-Chouraqui said, the Defense Ministry had delayed publishing the decision made by the committee not to separate the two days.

The ministry said in response that the committee had voted unanimously in a meeting on January 26 against the proposal.

“The close connection between Remembrance Day and Independence Day that both separates the two and draws them close, was first done out of necessity and in a short time gained ideological justification,” the Defense Ministry wrote. “The question of proximity between the two days is periodically raised, and it is actually on that background that the ideological basis for the joining of the two days has only deepened.”

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