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The 2020 Israeli-Palestinian Memorial Day Ceremony

Summary

To view the entire ceremony

Click on the image above
The broadcast begins at minute 2:50

Sharing Sorrow, Bringing Hope

Memorial Day Ceremony in the days of COVID-19
The 15th Israeli-Palestinian Memorial Day Ceremony took place on April 27, 2020 and it was unlike any ceremony we have ever had. Due to the global COVID-19 pandemic, this is the first time we couldn't physically unite with one another and with our many supporters who arrive in droves each year.
This new situation forced us to adapt the ceremony to the new reality. We transformed it into an online ceremony that was broadcast on several platforms to the entire world.  This was in fact an Internet project the size of which we had never taken on. It was a major challenge for all who worked day and night to adhere to the task.
No doubt the new situation spared us the anguish we confront on a yearly basis, from finding a venue to host the event, routinely struggling with the defense ministry that refuses to provide entry permits to our Palestinian partners, to witnessing disgraceful right-wing protests outside the venue.
Yet, there was some commotion when this year, for the first time, a public service announcement inviting the public to watch the ceremony, was broadcast on Public Broadcasting Corporation radio.  Undoubtedly a welcome precedent for us, but it was denounced by the minister of communications and other Knesset members who were enraged that the Corporation, supported by public funds, publicized the ceremony.
To our delight, despite the physical distance and the inability to unite (which was markedly conspicuous), the ceremony this year was one of the most moving we have organized so far. During the ceremony we heard from Hagai Yoel, Tal Kfir Schurr, Yusra Mahfoud and Yakub al Rabi, who shared the stories of their personal loss and called for reconciliation and peace. Other people who took part in the ceremony were Nickolay Mladenov, UN Special Coordinator for the Middle East Peace Process, with a recorded greeting, and intellectual, author and poet Dr. Sami Shalom Chetrit.
Artistic performances included Achinoam Nini and Gil Dor, Mira Awad, Eli Magan and Adi Rennert and of course the Rana Choir, which, as it does every year, ended the ceremony with the song "Chad Gadya" (One Little Goat). Other participants were Liora Rivlin and Makram Khoury who read from the letters of Hanoch Levin.
This year Hanoch Piven designed the official poster for the ceremony and the animation that accompanied the broadcast.
The evening ended with special Zoom encounters between Forum members and the public. During each of the ten encounters Forum members told their personal story of bereavement, shared the process whereby they opted for reconciliation and answered the viewers' questions. These encounters added so much to the unique evening and we would be delighted to repeat them in the future.
All the video segments are being uploaded on our Facebook page. You can also view the Zoom encounters on the Ceremony page on our website.

Partnership and Sharing

Numbers
The ceremony was watched by an audience that peaked at 193,000. GoCast Israel Broadcasting (to whom we are indebted for their proficiency at broadcasting the ceremony from Tel Aviv and Ramallah) couldn’t segment the viewing data per countries, but we know for sure that it was viewed by over 1,000 viewers in Gaza, tens of thousands of viewers in the West Bank and the rest in Israel, Europe, Australia, the USA; in fact, all around the world.
The streaming of the ceremony was shared from 56 sources (diverse media organizations and entities, Facebook pages, YouTube and Internet websites).
The week of the ceremony the Forum's website had a vast number of entries, over 25,000 (as opposed to 2,300 during a regular week). The broadcast was viewed on the website by 9,260 viewers through the page in Hebrew and 2,180 through the page in English.
17,000 viewers watched the ceremony on the Forum's YouTube channel and on its Facebook page, over 38,000.
The Forum added followers and new subscribers to its various accounts: 100 new followers joined the Instagram account (that exceeded 2,000 followers for the first time), almost 1,000 new fans joined the Forum's Facebook page and thousands subscribed to the newsletter in the various languages. In addition, 455 new subscribers joined the Forum's YouTube channel (before the broadcast the channel only had 36 followers). You too are invited to enter the YouTube channel and follow.
The crowdfunding campaign accompanied the Forum's Facebook page (alongside the "Combatants for Peace" Facebook page) in the past five weeks. Here is the data from last week: Overall circulation of all the posts reached 317,000 (the week before circulation was 368,000). Total involvement in all the posts reached 39,400.
The crowdfunding campaign was a huge success. The donated sum was almost 50% higher than the initial goal.

Media exposure

Compilation
Here is a selection of the various mentions in the media about the ceremony. Thank you, Dror Mizrachi, the "Combatants for Peace" PR director and the media team.
In addition to the articles, there were opinion pieces, tweets, one radio interview (interview with Yakub al Rabi in Reshet Bet, Kan) and two on TV – see below, including a video in which Forum member Batia Avisar reads slurs that were posted on the Forum Facebook page (The video follows the Kan 11 news item).
About the video where Forum member Batia Avisar reads slurs from the Forum Facebook page.
About the online broadcasting of the Memorial Day Ceremony.
An interview with Gili Meisler.
Special Edition - i24 News

Forum activities in the wake of COVID-19

Endeavoring and meeting in new ways
With the outbreak of COVID-19 in our region in early March, the impact on Forum activities was instant. The Narrative group, that had just started out, was forced to cancel the first joint session that was set for that weekend; all the dialogue encounters that were planned for March (over 50 encounters) were canceled; the bi-national workshops planned for the young leaders group and participants of the Forum's "Women's Leadership for Reconciliation" were also canceled, as were additional activities that were planned.
Once it was evident that this situation would continue for a long time and activities in the field were no longer an option, the Forum launched alternative activities online for the various communities. Though an activity via Zoom can't replace activities in the field, it allows us to keep in touch with the Forum's communities in these trying times. Thus, there were diverse activities – sessions with Forum members, training sessions for new Palestinian dialogue facilitators, encounters for alumni who took part in the Narrative groups, Forum leadership program sessions and more. Zoom sessions and webinars also took place for the diverse communities by Friends of the Parents Circle in Britain and the USA.
The Forum launched a "Film Club" on Zoom for Forum members and alumni of the Narratives project. Every week members received a link to a film on matters pertaining to the conflict, to dialogue and peace and were subsequently invited to attend a Zoom discussion with the filmmakers and the film's protagonists.
The Forum's dialogue meetings also took place on Zoom and pairs of Forum members – Israelis and Palestinians – met in this way with groups of Israelis, Palestinians and people overseas (students in high school, preparatory programs, universities and adults). Over 20 such meetings took place last month and we invite you to get a group of people together who want to meet "the other" in a unique meeting such as this on Zoom.
To schedule a dialogue meeting on Zoom please email Rakefet.

Youth Camp for Peace and Reconciliation

Sign up now!
Despite COVID-19 and these trying times, the summer camp of The Parents Circle – Israeli Palestinian Bereaved Families for Peace will take place as usual, subject to ministry of health guidelines.
Fifty youths are invited to an encounter with "the other side". The camp is designed for youths between the ages of 14-18.
Through dialogue oriented joint activities the youths get to know one another and find what they have in common.
To sign up
For more information contact Yigal Elhanan:
Tel: 054-7525703

Email

Young Ambassadors for Peace

Call to sign up
We are seeking young adults between the ages of 18-28 from bereaved families to join a series of encounters whereby the emphasis will be placed on getting to know Israeli and West Bank Palestinian youths in a more profound way. This is a rare opportunity to be involved and become acquainted, an opportunity to be active and create change.
The program is free of charge.
For details contact Guy Elhanan:
Tel: 054-5435662
Email
For more information on the program: Forum website

New Personal Stories on our website

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That's all for now, until our next newsletter

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