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Combating the ‘Nakba’ narrative with truth on Declaration Day

The Israel Forever Foundation has launched a special two-day program to create “virtual citizens” and reconnect people with Israel’s Declaration of Independence.

Israeli founding father and first prime minister David Ben-Gurion declares independence beneath a large portrait of Theodor Herzl, founder of modern Zionism, at the Tel Aviv Museum, today Independence Hall, on May 14, 1948. Photo by Zoltan Kluger/GPO.
Israeli founding father and first prime minister David Ben-Gurion declares independence beneath a large portrait of Theodor Herzl, founder of modern Zionism, at the Tel Aviv Museum, today Independence Hall, on May 14, 1948. Photo by Zoltan Kluger/GPO.

The Israel Forever Foundation has launched a unique online program designed to encourage engagement with Israel’s “Declaration Day” and combat the Palestinian “Nakba” narrative.

The two-day program, filled with videos, performances and more, launched on May 14 and aims to create “virtual citizens of Israel” in the hope of uniting Diaspora and Israeli Jews in a dynamic and meaningful way, according to the organization.

“May 15 has always been the anniversary of the creation of a new nation-state,” explains IFF Executive Director Elana Yael Heideman. However, “This year, the United Nations is hosting ‘Nakba Day’ all over the world, on college campuses and even in high schools. Young Jews don’t understand or even know how to respond to nakba events. We must help the next generation feel a personal sense of belonging by reclaiming our secular independence date.”

“Nakba,” meaning catastrophe in Arabic, is a phrase used by Palestinians to refer to the creation of the modern Jewish state with the Declaration of Independence on May 14, 1948.

Following the event launch on Sunday, online virtual programming began simultaneously around the world, including the Declaration of Independence and a special message from Israel’s President Isaac Herzog.

The event will culminate at 18:00 in Israel (11 a.m. EST in the United States) with the broadcast of a live event featuring exclusive diplomatic commemoration and international affirmation of Israel’s independence at the David Citadel Hotel in Israel’s capital, Jerusalem.

Reclaiming the date will help everyone understand the many steps to the independence process, all of which were well within the bounds of international law, said Heideman. The event, expected to host more than 18 ambassadors and 40 representatives from pro-Israel organizations, will also give people an opportunity to connect with the important historical milestone and the path to independence for the Jewish people, she added.

The Israel Forever Foundation’s website is full of historical information on Israel’s formation and history, but Heideman describes the event—and the website—as “edutainment.” It includes resources to help the public combat BDS lies, as well as general information about Israel—holidays (religious and national), activities like “Create Your Own Cornerstone” and coloring pages and lists of art activities in Jerusalem.

The link to participate in the two-day event can be found on the Israel Forever Facebook page.

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