Bennett’s Umm al-Fahm visit canceled due to ‘commemoration of martyrs’

2021-10-01 03:31:06

Ra’am announced on Thursday that Prime Minister Naftali Bennett had canceled a visit to Umm el-Fahm scheduled for Friday at its request, due to a planned commemoration of the “martyrs” of the October 2000 riots, in which 12 Israeli-Arab civilians were killed by police.

“Tomorrow, Friday, is memorial day to the Jerusalem and Al-Aqsa Mosque riots,” Ra’am said in a statement in Arabic, referring to the October 2000 events.

“This is a very important national event in the history of the Arab community and Umm el-Fahm. In order to respect this important memory and the memory of the martyrs, and in order to concentrate efforts in a proper manner – both in coping with the coronavirus that has spread lately in the Arab community, and in order to uphold the national events that are important to us, while maintaining national unity, and in a proper manner to our nation and to the city of Umm el-Fahm – Ra’am requested that PM Bennett’s visit tomorrow be postponed. The request was approved and the visit was postponed to another date,” the party announced.

The visit had originally been planned at Umm el-Fahms’ Clalit Health Services branch in order to promote vaccinations, as the Israeli-Arab community has the lowest vaccination rates in the country. 

Bennett’s spokesperson Matan Sidi was quick to issue a clarification.

Prime Minister Naftali Bennett visiting a vaccination center in Holon, June 29, 2021.  (credit: MARC ISRAEL SELLEM/THE JERUSALEM POST)

Prime Minister Naftali Bennett visiting a vaccination center in Holon, June 29, 2021. (credit: MARC ISRAEL SELLEM/THE JERUSALEM POST)

“The visit was canceled due to expected demonstrations and security arrangements,” he said. “This is the reason, and this alone.”

Ra’am head Mansour Abbas then posted a clarification of his own.

“The Prime Minister’s visit to Umm el-Fahm that was scheduled for tomorrow and was postponed was meant to promote vaccines in the Arab community,” Abbas said. 

“The Prime Minister postponed his visit after it became clear that this goal would not be achieved. Any attempt to link the Prime Minster’s considerations to other factors is unfounded and inappropriate in my view. The message that Ra’am sent out about the visit’s postponement expressed its view only,” he said.

The Likud denounced the decision.

“There is no humiliation that Bennett will not endure for his political survival which is dependent on Mansour Abbas. To cancel a visit due to ‘commemoration of the martyrs’ is a disgrace that will go down in history,”
the party said. 

The October 2000 riots were a series of protests in Arab cities and towns in northern Israel in that escalated into rioting by Israeli Arabs throughout Israel, and counter-rioting by Israeli Jews. During the riots, 13 Arabs – 12 Israeli-Arabs and one Palestinian from the Gaza Strip who had been demonstrating in Israel – were killed by the police.

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