Beduin man in al-Arakib tent 311.
(photo credit: REUTERS/Amir Cohen)
Knesset Speaker Reuven Rivlin spoke out on Thursday against the list of
torchlighters at this year’s Independence Day ceremony, because, unlike in
previous years, it does not include any minorities.
Although the Public
Diplomacy Ministry released the names of the 13 torchbearers on Wednesday
evening, Rivlin demanded that the “distortion” be fixed, so that Arabs, Druse,
Beduin and other minorities be included in the ceremony.
are meant to represent “Water: A source of life,” the theme of this year’s
Independence Day ceremony, which is set to take place on April 25 on Mount Herzl
The group of 13 includes a hydrotherapist; the winner of a
young scientists’ competition who developed a solar-powered water-purifying
system; a civil engineer instrumental in building 240 reservoirs around Israel;
and the president of Mekorot, the national water and sewage
“In Israel, there are groups that tied their fate and their
lives to Israeli society and are full partners in Zionism and in protecting the
State of Israel’s existence,” Rivlin explained. “It cannot be that this is not
expressed in the central, government-sponsored ceremony in which we celebrate
According to Rivlin, the issue is not symbolic;
rather, he is demanding an accurate portrayal of Israeli society.
Majallie Whbee (Kadima), who is Druse, said that the Independence Day ceremony
is not for Jews alone.
According to Whbee, the current government claims
to accept minorities as partners in Israeli society only when it is convenient
“The government has closed its eyes and excluded those of other
religions who risked their lives to build the state,” he stated.
are enough members of minorities that are worthy of taking part in this