Tel Aviv University okays Nakba Day ceremony, despite Student Union opposition (HA´ARETZ NEWS) By Talila Nesher 05/10/12)
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Tel Aviv University’s dean of students recently approved a ceremony
to commemorate Nakba Day, to take place on campus on Monday, May 14.
Nakba is the Arabic word for catastrophe, and for Israeli Arabs,
Nakba day marks the anniversary of the evens of 1948. In January, the
High Court of Justice upheld the controversial Nakba Law passed by
the Knesset in March, which fines bodies who openly reject Israel as
a Jewish state or mark the Israel´s Independence Day as a day of
The ceremony was set to be held next Monday in the plaza adjacent to
the “Naftali” social sciences building.
On Wednesday, University security services decided that because of
a “possibility of disturbances,” the event will instead be held
at “Antine Square,” located near the entrance to the University.
University security services also stated that the students behind the
event must provide funding for the salary of at least six University
security guards to ensure order at the event.
“Payment must be made to security services up until two days prior to
the event. Failure to pay will result in a revocation of permission
to hold the event,” read a statement released by University security
The notice continued, “Use of a sound system is prohibited; only
megaphones will be allowed. No posters, signs, or flags may be hung
up in the square.”
Safi Kadaan, a sociology student, and one of the promoters of the
ceremony, responded to the notice. “We’re talking about a new idea, a
new campus framework in which there will be a ceremony not just for
Arab students, but for everyone,” said Kadaan.
Kaddan continued, “We’re talking about a disaster that must be known
on a human level. Historical background will be presented at the
ceremony, no anthems will be sung, because this a human issue, not a
According to Noa Levy, a law student and organizer of the Nakba Day
ceremony, “The idea of the ceremony is to be concrete recognition of
the pain and loss that the government caused people in this land
feel. It’s less about the political-national question, and more about
recognizing the tragedy that happened here.”
“Every year different political bodies organize events focusing on
the Nakba, in an attempt to make it the focal point of relations
between Jews and Arabs in the area. What has never been done, and the
time has come to do it, is to commemorate the Nakba in an alternative
way, accessible to and created for the Israeli public – an event to
remember the tragedy and great loss that befell the people who were
here before ’48, many of which still live here,” continued Levy.
Levy also commented on the nature of the ceremony to be held. “It
won’t deal with issues of blame, instead it will present the tragedy
in as personal a way as possible,” said Levy
On the ceremony’s agenda is a reading of a poem by poet Mahmoud
Darwish, a moment of silence, as well a reading of an alternative
version of the “Yizkor” prayer traditionally read at events
commemorating fallen soldiers.
Tel Aviv University’s Student Union released a statement regarding
the event. “The Student Union has no connection to the Nakba day
events set to take place on campus next week, and opposes the events
in their current form. The Student Union requested from University
administration to rethink the event in its current form, inasmuch as
it could be very harmful toward the feelings of many students on
campus. We are currently waiting for an answer from the University,
and will determine our next steps depending on the response from the
university,” read the statement.
A Student Union representative said that “many complaints were
received from students regarding the event, which led to the union’s
request to hold the event in a closed auditorium.”
Tel Aviv University has yet to comment on the ceremony. (© Copyright
2012 Ha´aretz 05/10/12)
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