Opinion: Allowing furniture giant to reopen is slap in faces of families and friends forbidden from visiting graves of loved ones on day dedicated to their memories; does it have anything to do with political connections?

A mourner wearing face mask and gloves visiting grave of loved one in military cemetery during coronavirus outbreak
A mourner wearing face mask and gloves visiting grave of loved one in military cemetery during coronavirus outbreak

This year, like every other year, I was supposed to spend Memorial Day visiting the same two graves in the same two military plots.

First, I was supposed to visit Kibbutz Yagur cemetery, the resting place of Abraham Rimon, my commander who fell in the battle of Tel Faher during the 1967 Six-Day War.

After that, my family and I were to drive to the town of Nahalal for a ceremony at Shimron cemetery, where lies my cousin Zohar Ben Barak, who fell in the battle of Hermon in the 1973 Yom Kippur War.

But I was recently informed that this year I was forbidden both locations because of the decision to close military cemeteries on Memorial Day.

Despite my grief, I might have accepted this with some understanding, but at the same time, the Swedish furniture giant IKEA was allowed to resume activity – and opened its doors.

This double standard is infuriating, odd and suspicious.

המשטרה מתעמתת עם סוחרים שפתחו עסקים במחנה יהודה
A sign at the still shuttered Mahane Yehuda market in Jerusalem reads: ‘Welcome to IKEA Mahane Yehuda branch (Photo: Ron Yarkoni)


We’re not talking about one hand that does not know what the other hand is doing, but the same hand itself.

The same hand that closes cemetery gates and prevents the entry of mourners opens the IKEA gates for people spending money.

The media says that one of the two owners of the IKEA chain in Israel is a Gerrer Hasidic man and a generous donor to Rebbe Yaakov Aryeh Alter.

Our very successful health minister, Yaakov Litzman, also belongs to the same Hasidic dynasty, and we know that Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu greatly appreciates his work in the coalition and owes him a favor for his loyalty.

So maybe it’s two hands anyway – one hand washing the other.

Litzman rejected this possibility altogether. We can give him the benefit of the doubt and assume it is not corruption but just stupidity, but the suspicion is there, and IKEA’s outrageous opening together with the closure of cemeteries is a fact.

בית העלמין הר הרצל בירושלים
IDF soldiers wearing masks against coronavirus salute at the graves of fallen troops at Mt. Herzl military cemetery in Jerusalem (Photo: EPA)


Only a few kilometers separate Kibbutz Yagur’s cemetery from the IKEA in Kiryat Ata.

It may well happen that on Tuesday, mourning families reach the Yagur junction and a police officer asks them where they are headed.

I suggest they say, “To IKEA!”, because if they tell the truth they will be required to turn back, perhaps with a fine for good measure.

And maybe we can already just perform Memorial Day ceremonies at IKEA.

It’s open anyway because people apparently don’t contract coronavirus there.

They have big parking lots, huge halls and ushers. They also sell scented candles, so we won’t feel the stench of discrimination.

There are chairs and closets galore at a much more affordable price than that paid by the occupants of the coffins in Israel’s military cemeteries.

As reported by Ynetnews