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Knesset member threatens to ‘blow up’ orphans’ summer camp

TJI Pick
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Published: 23 June 2023

Last updated: 5 March 2024

A peacebuilding camp for bereaved families from both sides of the conflict comes under attack.

Knesset members from Israel's ruling coalition threatened to take action on Monday against a boarding school called the Ben Shemen Youth Village for renting its complex to host a summer camp for the children of bereaved Israeli and Palestinian families.

Jewish Power Knesset member Almog Cohen said, "I’ll blow up your summer camp and shut you down, god willing."

Cohen, a far-right lawmaker, and other coalition members threatened Ben Shemen's management at a meeting of the Knesset Education Committee convened at their request. The lawmakers, all members of the committee, demand that the school cancel its agreement for the Israeli-Palestinian group to rent out the place for the summer.

The Israeli-Palestinian Bereaved Families for Peace organisation brings together families who lost  loved ones in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Among other things, members of the group speak to youth groups and schools. The group also organises an annual alternative ceremony on Israel’s Memorial Day for fallen soldiers. Since 2003, the group has been holding summer camps for Israeli and Palestinian orphans aged 14 to 18, each time in a different location. The site chosen for this summer, Ben Shemen,is in the centre of Israel. The organisation had arranged to rent the site, which is empty during the summer break.


Knesset member threatens to 'blow up' Palestinian, Israeli orphans' summer camp (Al Monitor)

‘I’ll Blow It Up’: Far-right MKs Threaten Summer Camp for Israeli and Palestinian Orphans (Haaretz)
At a Knesset Education Committee meeting, coalition MKs slam a youth village for renting its complex to host a summer camp for bereaved Israeli and Palestinian children, warning that “this government will respond”.

Photo: MK Almog Cohen at the Education Committee hearing on Monday where he threatened to ’blow up’ a summer camp for the children of bereaved Israeli and Palestinian families

(Noam Moshkowitz/ Knesset Spokesperson)

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