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Bereaved Families Call to Boycott Memorial Day Event

Letter accuses Prime Minister of excluding terror victims 'as a national ethos,' claims that speech will provoke loud protests.
By Yedidya Ben-Or
First Publish: 5/4/2014, 1:28 PM

IDF soldiers, Memorial Day (file)
IDF soldiers, Memorial Day (file)
Flash90

Bereaved fathers, Ron Kerman Yossi Zur and Yossi Mendelowitz have stepped up their campaign against the national Memorial Day ceremony on Monday, now calling for bereaved families to boycott the public event.

The fathers sent a scathing second letter to Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu Sunday, in which they "call for bereaved families not to attend this year's Memorial Day ceremonies at 1:00PM on Har Herzl." 

First, however, they addressed the Prime Minister. 

"Last week, we sent you a letter asking you not to attend the ceremony on Mount Herzl and not to make a public address," they began. "We were not at all surprised at the lack of a response to our appeal." 

"Since sending our first letter, you were present at the laying of the cornerstone for the Memorial Hall for Israel's Fallen on Har Herzl," they said. "This shrine does not immortalize our children, nor one of the thousands of victims of terrorism and terrorist violence. This week, you met with a delegation of orphans of fallen IDF soldiers, but did not bother to book, prior to Memorial Day, a meeting with even one orphan or widow of terror and terrorist violence."

"We asked several times to meet with you prior to, and after, each batch of terrorist releases," they continue. "We thought that whoever has the courage to release murderers waiting in prison should have had the courage to face the families and hear them and tell them why you let the murderers of their loved ones free."

"Unfortunately, you chose to ignore this meeting, instead seeing the orphans of Fallen Soldiers," they continued. "This meeting is easy for you, kids do not ask tough questions. "

"You, as Yoni [Netanyahu] z"l's brother, belong to the establishment of bereaved families from fallen IDF soldiers, and are in full solidarity with the security establishment, and a full partner in the exclusion of terror victims as a national ethos - whether by releasing murderers for wholesale or by making [terror victims in Israel] disappear during public ceremonies," the father fired. 

The bereaved fathers then called on all bereaved families to boycott the ceremony.

"We call on all bereaved families whose relatives died of terror attacks or terrorist violence not to attend the ceremony on Har Herzl this year," the fathers said. "We choose [instead] to stand by the graves of our children at this time, to ask them forgiveness again for not having been able to keep them alive and not keeping their murderers in prison."

The fathers stated that their choice is a matter of national and personal dignity. 

"We fear that if we attend the ceremony at Har Herzl, we will not sit still, and your words will cause us to scream from the bottom of our hearts against the phrases you throw out into thin air," the letter continued. "We will also not be surprised if other families feel as we do and demonstrate in front of Har Herzl."

"Your mere presence and your speech at the ceremony provoke bereaved families' ire and cause them further pain, pain accompanying them anyway on Memorial Day [in the first place]."