Daily Israel Report

Why is the Government Still Funding 'Nakba Day' Events?

MK Fania Kirschenbaum (Likud-Beiteinu) demanded that Yair Lapid cut off funding to groups that hold 'Nakba commemorations'
By Yaakov Levi
First Publish: 5/15/2014, 9:21 AM

Arab Nakba Day rioter hurls rock at Jews in Jerusalem
Arab Nakba Day rioter hurls rock at Jews in Jerusalem
Flash 90

MK Fania Kirschenbaum (Likud-Beiteinu) on Wednesday night sent a letter to Finance Minister Yair Lapid, asking him to cut off funding to organizations that commemorate the “Nakba,” the day Israel declared independence in 1948, and hundreds of thousands of Arabs left their homes at the behest of invading Arab armies.

The Knesset three years ago passed a law demanding that the government stop funding organizations that hold such events. That law has not been enforced to a large extent, Kirschenbaum said.

The problem, she said, was especially acute at universities “The many protests taking place on campuses by student organizations – which the government is paying for with funding, and is required to provide security for as well – are legitimizing the state and the Jewish people,” she wrote. “I appeal to you to use your legal powers to prevent the use of state money for these activities.

“The organizations holding these events are violating the law and the institutions that allow them to proceed are assisting them, and it is all coming out of the pockets of taxpayers,” she said. “We cannot allow a situation where state-funded organizations will deny the right of the state to exist, or provide a platform for incitement to racism, violence, or terror in support of 'armed resistance to the occupation,'” she added.

Earlier this week, about 300 Arab and leftist students at Tel Aviv University held a Nakba commemoration at the campus. The students carried photos of Arabs who fled their homes in 1948, when Israel was established. One of the leftist protesters said she came to the event to enhance coexistence between Arabs and Jews. “In order for us to live together in harmony we must acknowledge the persecution experienced by the Arabs who were evicted from their homes in 1948. It is a tragedy that continues until today,” she said.

Pro-Israel students facing off against them said that what the Nakba demonstrators were really protesting against was “historical fact. What they are really protesting is the establishment of Israel,” said a pro-Israel protester. “The facts say different. The Arabs were the ones who rejected the partition of Mandatory Palestine, they are the ones who started all the wars, and they are still trying to destroy us. We are here to fight for the truth,” the protester said.

According to historians, the vast majority of Arabs left their homes and villages at the behest of Arab nations, including Egypt, Syria, and Transjordan, which promised that they would quickly return to distribute the booty taken from the Jews, who by that time would have been “thrown into the sea.” Things didn't quite work out that way, and many of the Arabs who fled ended up in refugee camps in Arab countries, where they were not allowed to become citizens, build permanent homes, or in some cases even work.