Israeli-Palestinian bereaved families meeting nixed for third time following right-wing backlash

The meeting was canceled at the request of the mother of one of the students, and under pressure from right-wing activists. This is the third time such an event was canceled in the central city of Kfar Saba in the last six months

Joint Israeli-Palestinian Memorial Day Event organized by the Israeli-Palestinian Bereaved Families Forum, in Tel Aviv, 2018.

Shira Kadari-Ovadia reports in Haaretz on 13 March 2023:

A meeting scheduled to take place Monday between students and bereaved Israeli and Palestinian families was canceled following pressure from right-wing Israeli activists.

The event, organized by the Israeli-Palestinian Bereaved Families Forum and set to take place at a school in the central Israeli city of Kfar Saba, was nixed as a result of a sustained lobbying effort by right-wing activist Shai Glick, founder of the “B’tsalmo” organization, and student’s mother who lost a sibling to an attack.

This is the third time the event by the Forum was canceled in Kfar Saba in the last six months. The Kfar Saba municipality said in response that the meeting was canceled at the discretion of the school, and that it had no part in the decision. The school declined Haaretz’s request for comment.

The mother who asked to call off the meeting, Hagit Shatz, told Haaretz that the meeting was canceled after she contacted various parties, including Shai Glick. Shatz, who lost her brother Moshe in 2002 during an IDF operation in the West Bank, says she acted to cancel the meeting because, in her opinion, “talking to [students] who are enlisting in five months, instilling doubts in them about the enlistment, is not the right timing.” She added that she is “in favor of dialogue and listening to both sides, but not this way, and not during such a confusing and unclear time.”

Last month, the Kfar Saba municipality canceled a meeting that was set to take place with the Bereaved Families Forum at a community center in the city for fear of sparking a protest. The canceled meeting was set to be an alternative to the meeting scheduled for November on the occasion of Yitzhak Rabin’s memorial day at the Galili high school in the city, which was also canceled under pressure from right-wing activists.

In a letter sent to parents after the initial cancelation last November, school principal Yael Matalon explained that the members of the school’s Parent-Teacher Association supported holding the meeting at their school – which has been held traditionally for years as part of the memorial events for the slain prime minister – and that the decision to cancel it was made following posts on social media.

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