A “moment of silence,” aping ceremonies held on Holocaust Memorial Day and Israel's Memorial Day, will be held at Tel Aviv University on Monday – in commemoration of “Nakba Day.” Arabs in Israel and Palestinian Authority-controlled areas have, for the past several years, held a “day of mourning” to protest the existence of the State of Israel, which they see as a great defeat for them. According to the Arabs, the Nakba, or “calamity,” is the fact that Israel was able to survive the onslaught of Arab armies in five major wars, as well as incessant terror attack, and Nakba Day highlights that defeat.
In Monday's ceremony, students will remain silent for a minute, as they “reflect” on Israel's victory and the loss of the Arab armies that sought to destroy the Jewish state. The ceremony, lifted wholly from Israel's commemoration of Holocaust Memorial Day, will include the reading of a “memorial text,” which will include the word “Yizkor,” urging Jews, Arabs, and “all of humanity to remember the suffering of the Palestinian people.”
The ceremony, which received official recognition from Tel Aviv University administrators, is being sponsored by the student wing of Hadash, Israel's Communist party. Many Tel Aviv University students are up in arms over the event, and have vigorously protested the event to administrators. The Im Tirzu organization on Wednesday sent a letter to Finance Minister Yuval Steinitz and Knesset Education Committee Chairman MK Alex Miller demanding that the university's budget be cut or suspended if the ceremony takes place, as it would violate the “Nakba Law,” which prohibits commemoration of the Nakba in institutions funded by the Israeli taxpayer.
“Unfortunately several Israeli universities have become hotbeds of anti-Israel activity. The Knesset and the government must stop these activities, whose purpose is to destroy the state,” said Ronen Shoval, chairman of Im Tirzu.
The Tel Aviv University Students' Association said in a statement that they had “no connection” to the event, and that it is “strongly opposed to the event in its current form. We have asked the university administration to reconsider the permit that was given for this event, as it is hurtful to the feelings and sensibilities of the large majority of students,” the organization said. In response, the administration said that a permit was given for the event, and that since the permit request had been properly filed, it had seen no reason to deny it.