Protesters: Abolish Jerusalem Day

In the past few years, Schrire said, the holiday has become a day of "celebrating the occupation of east Jerusalem."

May 20, 2012 21:05
2 minute read.
Jerusalem Day celebrations

Jerusalem Day celebrations 370. (photo credit: Marc Israel Sellem)


Dear Reader,
As you can imagine, more people are reading The Jerusalem Post than ever before. Nevertheless, traditional business models are no longer sustainable and high-quality publications, like ours, are being forced to look for new ways to keep going. Unlike many other news organizations, we have not put up a paywall. We want to keep our journalism open and accessible and be able to keep providing you with news and analyses from the frontlines of Israel, the Middle East and the Jewish World.

As one of our loyal readers, we ask you to be our partner.

For $5 a month you will receive access to the following:

  • A user experience almost completely free of ads
  • Access to our Premium Section
  • Content from the award-winning Jerusalem Report and our monthly magazine to learn Hebrew - Ivrit
  • A brand new ePaper featuring the daily newspaper as it appears in print in Israel

Help us grow and continue telling Israel’s story to the world.

Thank you,

Ronit Hasin-Hochman, CEO, Jerusalem Post Group
Yaakov Katz, Editor-in-Chief

UPGRADE YOUR JPOST EXPERIENCE FOR 5$ PER MONTH Show me later Don't show it again

Ray Schrire remembers the Jerusalem Day of his a childhood as a happy annual tradition – a far cry from how he views the day he has come to know in recent years.

“It wasn’t always for me connected to a political cause,” Schrire, a 26-year-old student of history and philosophy at the Hebrew University, told The Jerusalem Post on Sunday. “I guess I grew older and started to see the political instruments that are involved in this day.”

Be the first to know - Join our Facebook page.

Schrire would be taking part in a solidarity protest later that evening, in which a smattering of Israelis united with Palestinians at the Old City’s Damascus Gate in opposition to Jerusalem Day.

They oppose the Jerusalem Day celebrations saying that Jerusalem is not a united city, and instead the holiday only serves to satisfy young “settlers” and incite “racist harassment and violence against Palestinian inhabitants,” according to the Gush Shalom organization.

In the past few years, Schrire said, the holiday has become a day of “celebrating the occupation of east Jerusalem.”

“That by itself would be okay – people are allowed to celebrate what they want,” he continued.

“But the way it’s being celebrated is in such a violent way.

While in 1967, the army secured east Jerusalem, this does not give Jews the right to act violently against other Jerusalem residents, Schrire said.

“As an Israeli, as a Jew and as a Jerusalemite, I cannot tolerate the fact that my group of people are acting in such a way on any day,” he said.

Before the rally, Schrire said he hoped that the protest would go as peacefully as possible and stressed that people should not be “dancing through east Jerusalem” and “doing a whole pogrom” to begin with.

“I cannot see my people doing what has been done to us,” he said, pointing to the march that went through the Sheikh Jarrah neighborhood in 2011. “Last year, in my experience it was such a violent day.

“It has nothing to do with the Six Day War to go around bashing windows and cars,” Schrire added. (This year’s Jerusalem Day march was confined to west Jerusalem.) At the protest itself on Sunday evening, there were only a few Gush Shalom representatives, holding signs among many Palestinians.

One Arab woman, Amal, 24, told the Post that being part of such a protest is something she must do in order to help prove that Jerusalem belongs to the Palestinians.

“I’m here to say that Jerusalem is an Arab city and there is nothing called the unification of Jerusalem,” she said. “I’m here because we are supposed to be here, we’re not supposed to close our shops.”

Amal explained that she and her friends – one of who stood next to her in a T-shirt bearing a Google search for “Israel,” with the result, “Did you mean Palestine?” – are against any sort of cooperation with Israelis, even with representatives of organizations such as Gush Shalom.

By participating in such a rally, change is unlikely to occur in the short-term because of the small number of Palestinians joining in the events, as opposed to the huge number of Israelis there celebrating, according to Amal. Change may be able to occur in the long-term, but not in the short-term, she explained.

“I think there is right and there is wrong,” Amal said.

Related Content

August 31, 2014
Rioting resumes throughout east Jerusalem Saturday night