Amid overhaul turmoil, thousands demand politicians stay out of Memorial Day events

Israel is still reeling from the national crisis over the government’s judicial reform plan, and while legislation has been paused to allow negotiations, societal tensions remain high, and could spill over into the solemn days ahead. coming this month, as usual. marked by unity and strict decorum: Holocaust Remembrance Day, Remembrance Day and Independence Day.

Remembrance Day is a special sensitivity, in which the country honors its fallen soldiers and victims of terrorist and nationalist attacks — an issue that deeply affects all sectors of society, regardless of politics. Remembrance Day, on April 25 this year, and the ceremonies to honor the fallen, are seen as sacrosanct.

But they also traditionally feature politicians, with members of the government speaking at many military cemeteries during state ceremonies throughout the day – making the day’s events volatile.

Ahead of this year’s ceremonies, and with the overhaul and the potential for a massive upgrade still unresolved, many families of slain Israelis who oppose the judicial overturn have warned that they do not accept members of the current government taking part in official ceremonies.

Some people who are against the reform who lost their loved ones in defense of the country and its free democratic values ​​say that they will not stand the speeches of those who they believe are acting in direct violation of those values. Meanwhile, bereaved families who support the government and view its actions as pro-democracy are deeply concerned that critics bring politics into any day they consider sacred.

Due to heightened tensions, there are concerns that the serious incidents could turn into essays and protests against members of the government, which increases the internal division caused by the reform effort.

A ceremony commemorating Memorial Day for fallen Israeli soldiers and victims of terrorism, at the Western Wall in the Old City of Jerusalem, on May 3, 2022. (Olivier Fitoussi/Flash90)

Kan News reported over the weekend that the Public Committee for Soldiers’ Memorials has received thousands of messages in the last few days from families who oppose the restoration, urging them not to involve politicians from any side in this year’s events. He has also received many conflicting requests from supporters, who ask that the long-established tradition not be changed.

As the committee failed to reach a decision on the matter, the decision has now been left to the Prime Minister’s Office.

Soldiers place Israeli national flags on top of their heads and the Hebrew word ‘Remembrance’ on graves, at the Kiryat Shaul military cemetery in the Mediterranean coastal city of Tel Aviv on April 13, 2021, as they pay respect to fallen soldiers on Yom HaZikaron ( Day souvenirs). (Jack Guez/AFP)

Negotiations are underway between the coalition government and the opposition regarding a possible compromise regarding the judicial overhaul, but it is considered unlikely that an agreement will result.

President Isaac Herzog began hosting the talks this week after Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu agreed on Monday to temporarily halt government pressure to throw out the judicial system following widespread protests, which culminated after his defense minister released which warned of the security implications of the coalition’s proposals. .

Officials involved in the talks told Channel 12 on Friday that talks are already dead in the water. They said the coalition insisted during the early negotiations that it would be under the control of the Judicial Selection Committee, that the opposition would not initiate it, essentially ending the chances for negotiations before the talks began.

The composition of the Judicial Selection Committee — which currently shares power between politicians and judges to decide on new judicial appointments, including to the Supreme Court — is one of the most controversial parts of the reform.

The coalition is almost done enacting a bill that would politicize the committee strongly and give the government control over almost all judicial appointments.

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