About two thousand Israeli Arabs chose to mark Independence Day in a different way Wednesday, opting to mark 'Nakba Day' commemorating the Arab disaster that results from Israel's establishment.
The ceremony was held on the ruins of the village of Umm al-Zinat in the North, razed in 1948, and was held under the banner: "We mustn't renounce the right of return – their independence day is our day of tragedy." The event began with a march and ended with a ceremony that included speeches and songs.
MK Ibrahim Sarsur (Right) during ceremony (Photo: Muhammad Zbidat)
Several Arab Knesset members took part in the event, including Ibrahim Sarsur and Muhammad Barakeh, as well as other Arab leaders.
During the ceremony, the names of the 531 villages and communities razed or abandoned during the 1948 War of Independence were read out.
As is the case every year, MK Barakeh chose to personally mark his family story by arriving at the ruins of the village of Sapuria, as he has done since he was a child. Barakeh arrived at the site with many of his relatives and other families removed from the village in 1948.
MK Barakeh with his family members
"While Haganah forces arrived at the village, all the women hid in a nearby cave and blocked it with trees so that the soldiers don't
know they're inside," Barakeh said.
"Suddenly my aunt, who was a baby then, began to cry and shout. One of the women in the cave suggested to shut her up at any price, even by chocking, for fear those in the cave will be found and possibly even murdered. My mom dared to leave the cave despite the forces outside, made it to the house, and returned with water, thus calming down the baby and saving everyone."