Nakba Day protests_311.
(photo credit: Reuters)
Students from Tel Aviv University plan to hold a “Nakba Day” ceremony on Monday,
despite opposition from fellow students and Education Minister Gideon Sa’ar
(Likud), who called on the university to rethink its decision to hold the
An organizer said that the university is requiring the organizers
to pay around NIS 1,000 for event security guards, saying this was in keeping
with the the “Nakba Law” passed last year – which allows the Finance Minister to
fine public bodies that use public funding, if they hold events that mark the
founding of the State of Israel as a day of mourning.
marking the “Nakba” – the name for the creation of the Palestinian exodus caused
by the founding of the Jewish state, meaning “catastrophe” in Arabic – will be
held outside the main gate of the university, after TAU went back on an earlier
decision to allow the ceremony outside the Social Sciences building. The
university also rescinded an earlier decision to allow the students to use a
sound system during the event.
A spokesman for the Education Ministry
said Sunday that Sa’ar had spoken to university authorities and asked them to
rethink the ceremony, calling the decision to allow it “mistaken and
Dan Walfisch, a 25-year-old history and philosophy major and
an organizer of the ceremony, said that the event will include an alternative
version of Yizkor, the Jewish prayer of mourning, as well as speakers reading
off the names of pre-1948 Palestinian villages within the Green Line, and
personal stories told by students whose families were displaced by the war. One
master of ceremonies will be former “Big Brother” finalist Saar Szekely, who was
known for making pro-Palestinian statements on the reality show.
said that as opposed to recent criticism of the event, “it will not include
rejection of Israel’s right to exist. Our goal is only to recognize the
suffering of the Palestinian people because we see mutual recognition as a
condition of having a shared existence in Israel.”
MKs Arye Eldad and
Michael Ben-Ari of the National Union party invited the public to join them on
Sunday outside the university, where they will celebrate “the day of our enemy’s
defeat,” and called on the public to bring “good wine, uplifting spirits, and
The Nakba Day event is being organized by the
Hadash party students group, the NGOs Hithabrut- Tarabut and Zochrot, and the
“1948 tent,” which was set up on Rothschild Boulevard last summer as a place to
speak to passersby about the Nakba and issues facing Arabs in Israel.