Independence and Memorial Day Closures Likely

YERUSHALAYIM -

The Israeli cabinet will likely approve a nationwide closure on Independence Day and a closure of cemeteries on Memorial Day in a vote later Tuesday night.

Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu‏‏ has decided to support the restrictions, according to his office.

Memorial Day, on Monday and Tuesday, cemeteries will remain closed and families will not be allowed to visit their loved ones’ graves. Small ceremonies will be held at military cemeteries and broadcast to the public, officials said. People will be permitted to travel inter-city only for essential shopping or authorized work.

However, the news of shuttered cemeteries was met with the first threat of organized non-compliance since the coronavirus outbreak.

Eli Ben Shem, chairman of Yad Labanim, which represents families of fallen soldiers and terror victims, warned that they would not accept the decree.

“Unfortunately, it is the first time since the country’s founding that military cemeteries will be empty [on Memorial Day],” Ben Shem wrote Sunday to Netanyahu, IDF Chief of Staff Aviv Kohavi and other senior officials, according to The Times of Israel.

“Following the directive by Defense Minister Naftali Bennett canceling the ceremonies and the order not to come to the military cemeteries on Memorial Day, we are receiving hundreds of messages from families who don’t accept it and are threatening to force their way in,” he said.

He said that only a “widespread public campaign” could avert confrontations between bereaved families and police.

The government may also announce a general closure on the nights of Ramadan in the Arab towns, aimed at preventing large gatherings around the Iftar feasts at the end of each day’s fast.


Updated Tuesday, April 21, 2020 at 3:53 pm add info