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Israelis urged to ‘leave disputes outside cemeteries’ on Memorial Day

Leaders of the Jewish state call on the public to preserve the sanctity of the Memorial Day for Fallen Soldiers and Victims of Terror.

IDF Chief of Staff Lt. Gen. Herzi Halevi at a military cemetery. Credit: IDF Spokesperson's Unit.
IDF Chief of Staff Lt. Gen. Herzi Halevi at a military cemetery. Credit: IDF Spokesperson's Unit.

In a rare show of unity, Israel Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, Defense Minister Yoav Gallant, Minister Benny Gantz and opposition leader Yair Lapid issued a joint statement on Wednesday calling on the public to preserve the sanctity of the Memorial Day for Fallen Soldiers and Victims of Terror.

Memorial Day (Yom Hazikaron) will be observed on Sunday evening and Monday, ahead of Independence Day, which begins on Monday evening.

The four leaders signed a letter drafted by Eli Ben-Shem, chairman of the Yad LaBanim organization for bereaved families. The letter urges Israelis to “leave disputes outside military cemeteries” and avoid political arguments at gravesites out of respect for the fallen and their families.

“We turn to you, public representatives and all citizens of Israel … and ask you from the bottom of our hearts—preserve the sanctity of Memorial Day,” the letter says.

It references the particularly difficult circumstances surrounding this year’s memorial after the devastating Oct. 7 Hamas onslaught and months of conflict, resulting in a sharp increase in Israeli families joining “the circle of bereavement.”

The leaders emphasized that Israel’s independence was “bought at a heavy cost of blood” and that Memorial Day is meant to honor those who died in defense of the country. For the sake of the slain, the four called on Israelis to temporarily put aside political disagreements.

“We will honor the memory of all our daughters and sons, together. This is our duty, our responsibility, and this is how we will act,” the letter says. 

Ben-Shem approached the leaders amid concerns over protests or inappropriate behavior at cemeteries that could deepen the anguish of bereaved families on Memorial Day. A similar joint appeal was issued last year when clashes over the government’s judicial reform initiative led to confrontations at some gravesites.

Originally published by Israel Hayom.

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