Prime Minister Naftali Bennett faces heckling from the crowd as he speaks at the main Memorial Day service in the national military cemetery in Jerusalem

Speaking at Memorial Day service, Bennett faces heckles from crowd

Members of crowd heard shouting 'traitor', 'you’re a disgrace' and 'shut up', while others plead with them to sit down and respect the occasion; groups representing families of the fallen vehemently condemn interruptions

Gilad Cohen, Itamar Eichner |
Published: 05.04.22, 16:11
Speaking at the main Memorial Day service in the national military cemetery in Jerusalem, Prime Minister Naftali Bennett was interrupted repeatedly by bereaved families who prevented him from speaking for long several minutes on end.
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  • Members of the crowd were heard shouting at the premier "traitor", "you’re a disgrace" and "shut up", while others were pleading with them to sit down and respect the occasion.
    3 צפייה בגלריה
    הפרעות במהלך נאום בנט
    הפרעות במהלך נאום בנט
    Prime Minister Naftali Bennett faces heckling from the crowd as he speaks at the main Memorial Day service in the national military cemetery in Jerusalem
    (Photo: GPO)
    "The bereaved families are sacred. You can shout and express your pain. I love greatly and I hear your pain," Bennett responded to them from the podium.
    Security ultimately escorted the hecklers out of the venue.
    Speaking after Bennett, the head of the national organization for terror victims Abie Moses apologized to the premier for the jeering he was forced to endure.
    But one of the hecklers was heard shouting “we’re not sorry!” in response.
    Herzl Hajaj — father of First Lieutenant Shir Hajaj who was killed by a terrorist in a 2017 ramming attack in Jerusalem and a vocal critic of the current government — wrote on Twitter after the event that "we told those who formed a government with the terrorist sympathizers who murdered our children the truth to their faces."
    3 צפייה בגלריה
    הפרעות לבנט במהלך טקס חללי פעולות האיבה
    הפרעות לבנט במהלך טקס חללי פעולות האיבה
    Bereaved families heckle Bennett at the main Memorial Day service in the national military cemetery in Jerusalem
    (Photo: Yoav Dudkevitch)
    Hajaj was once a staunch supporter of Bennett and his nationalist Yamina Party before the latter opted to form a rainbow coalition government featuring left-wing factions and the Islamist Ra'am Party.
    Groups representing bereaved families of soldiers and terrorist victims were quick to condemn the hecklers.
    "In the name of thousands of bereaved families we vehemently condemn those who desecrated Mount Herzl and the memory of the fallen," said Eli Ben Shem, the director Yad LaBanim — an organization that commemorates the memory of fallen Israeli soldiers and provides support for their families.
    3 צפייה בגלריה
    הפרעות לבנט במהלך טקס חללי פעולות האיבה
    הפרעות לבנט במהלך טקס חללי פעולות האיבה
    (Photo: Yoav Dudkevitch)
    "These holy days, and in particular memorial ceremonies, must be left out of political arguments. On this holy day of remembrance and just before were our independence here in the Land of Israel - these are times when all citizens of the country and our leaders must unite and demonstrate our power as a people."
    The IDF Widows and Orphans Organization also issued a statement.
    "Politics should not be thrown into Memorial Day, it has no place here. Among the bereaved families, there are widows and orphans, siblings and parents from all ends of the political spectrum. During Memorial Day events, we must look for what unifies us, and stay as far away as possible from everything that divides us on a daily basis."
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