JERUSALEM (JTA) — Israel’s Ministry of Defense refused to allow bereaved Palestinians to enter Israel for an annual joint Israeli-Palestinian memorial service ahead of Yom Hazikaron, Israel’s Memorial Day.
The organizers, members of the Combatants for Peace movement and the Bereaved Families Forum, submitted 181 applications this year for Palestinians planning to participate in the Tel Aviv ceremony.
The applications were denied Wednesday, with the Defense Ministry saying that the requests were rejected due to the closure imposed on the West Bank ahead of Memorial Day and Independence Day, which follows a day later.
The ceremony, in its 14th year, is scheduled to be held on the eve of Memorial Day, May 7, in Hayarkon Park. More than 7,000 people participated last year.
The ministry also denied permits for Palestinians to enter last year, a decision that was overturned by the Supreme Court hours before the start of the ceremony.
Ceremony organizers said in a statement issued Thursday that they would appeal the Defense Ministry decision to the Supreme Court.