Protests Erupt at Israeli Military Cemeteries on Memorial Day

Protests erupt at Israeli military cemeteries on Memorial Day, targeting PM Netanyahu and ministers over perceived responsibility for Israeli casualties in the Gaza war. Demonstrators demand accountability and Netanyahu's resignation, citing security failures and lack of progress in freeing hostages.

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Aqsa Younas Rana
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Protests Erupt at Israeli Military Cemeteries on Memorial Day

Protests Erupt at Israeli Military Cemeteries on Memorial Day

Protests erupted at Israeli military cemeteries on Memorial Day, targeting Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and his ministers over their perceived responsibility for Israeli casualties in the ongoing war. The demonstrations came as Israel marked the loss of 1,594 soldiers and civilians since last Memorial Day, including 760 Israel Defense Forces soldiers and 834 civilians.

Why this matters: The protest reflect a deeper crisis of faith in the Israeli government and military, which could have far-reaching implications for the country's political landscape and national security. As the conflict with Hamas continues to drag on, the lack of accountability and clear exit strategy threatens to further destabilize the region.

At ceremonies across the country, protesters shouted down government officials and demanded accountability for the October 7 Hamas attack that killed over 1,200 Israelis and abducted 250 others, whose fates remain unknown. Demonstrators called for Netanyahu's immediate resignation.

Ruby Chen, whose son Itay was killed in the October attack but whose remains are still held by Hamas, said, "Where are we supposed to go? There is no burial site for us to go to." She added, "Too many people were killed on that day because of a colossal misjudgment. People who made the misjudgment need to pay, from the prime minister down."

Netanyahu vowed to "keep going until the end" to defeat Hamas in a speech at Jerusalem's Mount Herzl military cemetery. However, the war's goals of defeating Hamas and freeing the hostages remain unmet after seven months of fighting that has left over 35,000 Palestinians dead, mostly civilians. Gaza has been left without a functioning government, allowing Hamas to reconstitute itself even in areas.

The reflect the trauma and anger still felt in Israel over the October 7 attack, the deadliest in the country's history. Faith in the government and military has plummeted, with thousands demanding new leadership through early elections. While some officials have taken responsibility for the security failures, Netanyahu has stopped short of doing so himself.