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Meretz: Jerusalem Day is the 'Holiday of the Occupation'

Extreme leftist Meretz party calls for Jerusalem Day Law to be cancelled, says it symbolizes "the occupation".
By Ido Ben Porat
First Publish: 5/28/2014, 12:13 AM

Flag dance on Jerusalem Day
Flag dance on Jerusalem Day
Flash 90

The extreme leftist Meretz party on Tuesday tabled a new bill calling for the Jerusalem Day Law, passed in 1998 and which makes the day a national holiday, to be cancelled.

The bill presented by Meretz would revert back to the Knesset’s declaration in 1968 that the 28th of Iyar - the day on which Jerusalem was unified during the Six Day War - will be a symbolic holiday.

The reason for Meretz’s demand, according to MK Issawi Freij, is that Jerusalem Day has become “the holiday of the Israeli occupation.”

"As the years go by, Jerusalem Day is setting its status as ‘the holiday of the occupation,’” he told Haaretz on Tuesday. “It is not Jerusalem that is celebrated that day, but rather aggressiveness, arrogance and provocation.”

"The most prominent and disturbing example is the flag dance, which is nothing but a nice word for a parade of hatred and defiance of thousands of far-right activists inside Arab neighborhoods, a procession that often leads to violence,” continued Freij.

“This procession originated from the inferiority of those who know in their hearts that eastern Jerusalem is not their city,” he charged.

Freij’s bill was co-signed by Meretz chairwoman Zehava Galon and MKs Michal Rozin and Tamar Zandberg. The four attacked a bill submitted by MK Yoni Chetboun of the Jewish Home party, who seeks to upgrade the status of Jerusalem Day and declare it a statutory holiday.

"Turning Jerusalem Day into a day of rest would impose a heavy burden on the economy, only to facilitate the celebration of nationalism throughout eastern Jerusalem," said the Meretz MKs of Chetboun’s initiative.