The Jerusalem Magistrate’s Court rejected on Thursday an appeal by the Jerusalem Municipality to prevent a dialogue event ahead of a joint Israeli-Palestinian ceremony in Tel Aviv next week.
In the appeal, which was submitted on Wednesday, the municipality said that the Barbur Gallery, situated in a building owned by the municipality in the Nahlaot Gallery, was making improper use of public property. In a press release, Jerusalem Mayor Nir Barkat called Thursday evening’s dialogue event “a memorial day for our brave soldiers and for terrorists.”
The event, titled “A Joint Ceremony – Why [Have it] on this [Particular] Day?” is meant to explain why activists plan to hold a joint Israeli-Palestinian memorial ceremony in Tel Aviv on Remembrance Day next Wednesday, which honors slain IDF soldiers and the victims of terrorist attacks.
One of the organizers of the ceremony told The Jerusalem Post that it is mistaken to call it a memorial event for terrorists, and stressed that all participants – Israeli and Palestinian – will attend it out of a desire to promote peace.
“We have people who believe in peace and chose the path of dialogue and peace. They understand that bereavement should be turned to a positive path and not to revenge,” she said.
While the court discussion was taking place, Barkat and Culture Minister Miri Regev sent out a statement saying they plan to “act together in order to change the absurd and unacceptable situation in which the Barbur Gallery is receiving funding from the State of Israel… [and it can] remain in a property that belongs to the Jerusalem Municipality, and use the funding and the property to provide a platform to organizations that are hostile to Israel and undermine its values.”
Following the court ruling, Barkat and Regev said that they were “surprised and disappointed.”
“We utterly object to the event that desecrates the sacred value of remembering the fallen IDF soldiers and victims of terrorist attacks,” they said in a statement.
“We will keep using all legal means to make sure that these kind of events do not take place in municipality-owned properties in general, and in the Barbur Gallery in specific, and that there will not be illegal usage of municipality-owned properties,” they added.
Regev and Barkat, who recently announced that he will run for Knesset with the Likud in the next national election, said that they will work together and separately to promote legislation that would prevent these kinds of situation, and also urged Attorney-General Avichai Mandelblit to change the situation in which the culture minister cannot revoke funding from “bodies that carry out activities that undermine” the state.
The two criticized Finance Minister Moshe Kahlon for not using his power to fine such bodies.