Education minister: TAU Nakba event 'outrageous'

Sa'ar calls on Tel Aviv University president to reconsider his decision to allow on-campus ceremony marking Nakba Day.

Jaffa Nakba Day 311 (photo credit: Ben Hartman)
Jaffa Nakba Day 311
(photo credit: Ben Hartman)
Education Minister Gideon Sa’ar asked Tel Aviv University President Professor Joseph Klaftner over the weekend to reconsider his decision to allow students to organize an “outrageous” on-campus ceremony to commemorate Nakba Day.
The Nakba, meaning “catastrophe” in Arabic, is an annual commemoration when Arabs mourn the creation of the State of Israel in 1948. The Palestinian narrative recounts how hundreds of thousands of Arabs were either forced or felt compelled to leave behind their homes, with many fleeing to Israel’s neighboring countries where they remain until this day.
TAU announced this week that it would allow students to organize a Nakba Day commemoration under certain provisions, including hiring six school security guards to monitor the day’s events. The school administration also prohibited organizers from using a PA system and hanging flags and banners.
Speaking with the university president, Sa’ar said he thought the university’s decision to allow the ceremony was “false and outrageous,” Army Radio reported.
Students organizing the event said the commemoration would include a moment of silence to emphasize the importance of the Palestinian day of mourning, which falls on the day after the Gregorian date of Israel’s independence.
The event at TAU’s Antine Square is scheduled for May 14.
In addition, organizers will read an alternative version of “Yizkor,” the prayer for Israel’s fallen soldiers traditionally read at memorial ceremonies.
TAU approved the students’ ceremony despite the Nakba Law, passed in the Knesset last year and upheld by the High Court of Justice in January, which allows the finance minister to cut the budget of any state-funded institution or body that holds events that mark the Jewish state’s independence as a day of mourning.
Tel Aviv University responded that the decision to allow the Nakba Day activities is in accordance with the law and university regulations.