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Israel’s Left Calling for Abolition of Jerusalem Day

Thousands of Israelis take part in the annual flag parade, celebrating Jerusalem Day in the streets of Jerusalem.

Thousands of Israelis take part in the annual flag parade, celebrating Jerusalem Day in the streets of Jerusalem.
Photo Credit: Nati Shohat / Flash90

Gush Shalom Spokesperson Adam Keller on Saturday night called  to remove Jerusalem Day from Israel’s calendar of national holidays.

On the 28th of the Month of Iyar, which in 1967 fell on June 7, the old city of Jerusalem was liberated from its Arab occupiers by the IDF. The day has been celebrated since, following a May 12, 1968 government proclamation.

But according to Keller, Jerusalem Day is “a holiday only to settlers and racists, who get a license to provoke and harass Palestinians . . The real ‘Jerusalem Day’ [will come] when Jerusalem becomes the capital of two states living in peace.”

Keller published his announcement on “Media With Conscience,” a website which strives to achieve “world peace, social justice and a high awareness by humankind of the present and future dangers to its survival.”

Keller continues further in his statement: “‘Jerusalem Day’ is not a holiday to Israel’s citizens or to residents of Jerusalem. It is a holiday only for the young settlers, who are given by the Jerusalem Police a free hand to hold a provocative ‘Flag Dance’ throughout East Jerusalem – even though in previous years this ‘dance’ developed into an ongoing chain of racist harassment and violence against Palestinian inhabitants.”

The traditional Dance of flags is part of the parade of Jerusalem Day, in which tens of thousands of Israelis march from the western part of the capital through the Muslim Quarter, ending in front of the Wailing Wall. That part of Jerusalem Day, the parade, has received the greatest amount of criticism on the Left.

The original parade and the first dances with flags took place in 1968, when students at the Merkaz HaRav yeshiva, led by Rabbi Tzvi Yehuda Kook, marched up Yaffo Street, concluding with singing and dancing well into the night, at the kotel.

Carrying Israeli flags has become a distinct feature of the Jerusalem Day parade, as myriad marchers establish with their feet and their flags the Jewish sovereignty over the city.

According to Haaretz, a group of 21 leftist organizations calling themselves Forum Tag Meir, requested the Jerusalem municipality as well as the police to bar the parade from Arab neighborhoods, for fear of violent clashes between marchers and angry Arabs.

The police actually suggested, initially, that this year’s parade only move through the western part of town. But National Religious representatives accused the police of re-dividing the city with the restriction of the very parade that celebrates its unification.

“With this move the police is taking up a dangerous position regarding the division of Jerusalem,” NRP’s Deputy Mayor David Harari wrote Homeland Security Minister Yitzhak Ahronowitch, according to Haaretz.

Harari complained that with its plan, the police would be “educating our youth that the place of the Jews is in the western part of the city and not in its eastern part.”

Only this past week did the police change its position and agreed to the traditional path of the parade, through the Shchem Gate and the Muslim Quarter.

Incidentally, Adam Keller, the staunch enemy of Jerusalem Day, has been carrying the torch against the reunification of the land under Jewish rule for decades, and on occasion paid a personal price for his views. He has sat in prison more than once for refusing to serve in the territories liberated in 1967.

Unique among his comrades, Keller’s actions in the past have been imaginative and even ambitious.  In 1988 he was sentenced to three months in jail for defacing 117 tanks and other military vehicles with graffiti that read: “Soldiers of the IDF, refuse to be occupiers and oppressors, refuse to serve in the occupied territories!” He also pasted hundreds of “Down with the occupation!” stickers throughout the camp where he was doing his reserves duty.

Truth be told, writing press releases is a bit of a step backwards for the imaginative Keller.

About the Author: Yori Yanover has been a working journalist since age 17, before he enlisted and worked for Ba'Machane Nachal. Since then he has worked for Israel Shelanu, the US supplement of Yedioth, JCN18.com, USAJewish.com, Lubavitch News Service, Arutz 7 (as DJ on the high seas), and the Grand Street News. He has published Dancing and Crying, a colorful and intimate portrait of the last two years in the life of the late Lubavitch Rebbe, (in Hebrew), and two fun books in English: The Cabalist's Daughter: A Novel of Practical Messianic Redemption, and How Would God REALLY Vote.


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6 Responses to “Israel’s Left Calling for Abolition of Jerusalem Day”

  1. Ron Priest says:

    The only racists are the "palis"… Mr. Keller!

  2. Excuse me while I drive an army into your neighborhood to either demolish or evict you from your home. I'll owe any criticism you might reserve to your obvious racism.

  3. Ber Lazarus says:

    You already did that in 1948 and destroyed and desecrated synagogues and Jewish cemmataries and while occupiers of land granted the Jews under the San Remo agreement prevented Jews and Christians from access to holy sites. so don't lecture us on what we do in our ancient capital.

  4. Ber Lazarus says:

    And Mr. Keller, good luck in your utopian wishful thinking. It's over and the only ones responsible are the Arabs who refuse to recognize any Jewish presence in Israel. The bankruptcy of the left's position can well be ascribed to those very people it foolishly still believes want peace, ie the Arabs.

  5. Anonymous says:

    I say we abolish the Israeli left.

  6. Yori Yanover says:

    You know, just because I'm not on your side don't make me a racist. Like anti-Semitism, the charge of racism loses its gravitas when it's thrown about needlessly.

    Preferring my own culture is not racist. It's normal human behavior.

    But as Ber Lazarus put it, destroying a Jewish cemetery, or preventing Jews for 19 years from accessing their holiest sites — now, that's pretty bloody racist.

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