Approximately 500 IDF families of fallen soldiers on Sunday called on coalition government officials to stay away from Remembrance Day ceremonies – should the judicial overhaul pass into law.
At a press conference at Kfar Maccabiah in Ramat Gan, representatives of the families opened a new sensitive front for the government, making it clear that Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and others will not be able to bathe in the standard adulation politicians get at such sacred ceremonies, which are schedule this year for the end of April.
Israel engaged in so many wars, from the Independence War of 1948 to the May 2021 Gaza war, that huge numbers of families in the country either have a direct close family member who was killed in action, or know many neighbors or friends in that situation.
In quieter times when the country was less split by the judicial overhaul debate, Remembrance Day and Independence Day were hallowed moments when all political disagreements fell by the wayside.
Yet, this year the intensity of dissent toward the judicial overhaul is so great, especially within elite units of the military, that the once hallowed ceremonies are likely to be disrupted by the friction between the sides.
Surviving family members of soldiers killed speak against coalition
Orly Ashkar, whose brother was killed in the 1997 helicopter crash, said, “in recent months, the government, by the way in which it has acted, is ripping apart the nation and is tearing into pieces the connection that has united us for 75 years.
“The government, led by Benjamin Netanyahu, is running forward at full speed to instigate a revolution in the form of government and is undermining the foundations of the state.”
She continued, “In the government, there are ministers, some of who did not even serve in the military and some of who face indictments, and they call our friends, who themselves are combat fighters reservists from all of the different kinds of units, our brothers in arms…they call them anarchists, terrorists, and other insults.”
“They call on the combat pilots to ‘go to hell!’. Can this be?” referencing public attacks by Communications Minister Shlomo Karhi on IDF reservists who have threatened to strike and not show up for their training sessions.
In addition, she said, “I want to say thank you to the brave and responsible decision which Mr. Yoav Gallant, the Defense Minister, took,” on Saturday night when he broke with Netanyahu and called for pausing the legislation to buy more time to negotiate a true compromise.
“In the government, there are ministers, some of who did not even serve in the military and some of who face indictments, and they call our friends, who themselves are combat fighters reservists from all of the different kinds of units, our brothers in arms…they call them anarchists, terrorists, and other insults.”Orlu Ashkar, sister of fallen soldier killed in 1997 crash
This past weekend, Netanyahu suggested that he would not slow down the judicial overhaul vote slated for later this week, despite threats by protesters to disrupt the Remembrance Day and Independence Day ceremonies.
Likewise, Shahar Yauri, son of Amit Yauri who fell in the 2014 Gaza War, said, “24 members of this coalition did not serve in the military, while many others had very minor roles handling kosher food supervision or as a rabbi. They will not tell me what is fellowship and they will not tell me how the hurt feels when you lose someone.”