The Prime Minister’s Office announced on Tuesday night that Israel will go into lockdown for Yom Ha’Atzma’ut and Yom HaZikaron next Tuesday and Wednesday, subject to Knesset approval.
The Knesset unanimously approved the lockdown on Wednesday afternoon as well as nightly closures in Arab communities during the month of Ramadan, which begins in two days.
Also, all military cemeteries will be closed for Yom HaZikaron, which is next Monday night and Tuesday on the eve of Yom Ha’Atzma’ut, a decision that has aroused much opposition from bereaved families.
However, bereaved families will be allowed to visit the kevarim of their loved ones in the week remaining before Yom HaZikaron if they adhere to Health Ministry directives.
Defense Minister Naftali Bennett stated on Wednesday that no bereaved families who choose to ignore the directives and visit the kevarim of their relatives will be stopped amid fears of ugly scenes between police officers and bereaved families. Bennett’s statement came in a wake of fierce opposition and threats to “storm the cemeteries” by bereaved relatives.
“No one will use force against bereaved families,” Bennett said, adding that the police will close all access routes to military cemeteries across Israel. Bennett said they expect people not to come but if bereaved relatives walk in they will not be stopped.
The lockdown will require all citizens to stay at home from Monday evening through Wednesday except for short walks within 100 meters of their homes and will ban intercity travel except for people traveling for essential purposes.
All traditional ceremonies for Yom HaZikaron and Yom Ha’Atzma’ut will take place without an audience and be broadcast live. Also, the Ohr Lamisphachot Association will host a Zoom session for bereaved parents on Yom HaZikaron.
(YWN Israel Desk – Jerusalem)