Mourning Notices (August 2015)

On July 31, 2015 extremist Jewish settlers set a Palestinian home on fire in Duma village in the occupied West Bank, burning to death 18-month-old Ali Saad Dawabsheh, and severely injuring his parents and his 4-year-old brother. The father, Ali Dawabsheh, age 32, died from his injuries one week later.

On August 2, 2015, Shira Banki, a 16-year-old Israeli teen, succumbed to her wounds three days after being critically wounded by an ultra-Orthodox Jew that went on a stabbing rampage at Jerusalem's Gay Pride Parade.

In the wake of these horrific murders artist Romy Achituv and I created mourning notices which were posted throughout Jerusalem and Tel Aviv. The notices resemble traditional Israeli mourning posters, but the expression of grief is coupled with a message of protest. Though the specific political contexts of Shira Banki’s murder and Ali Saad Dawabshe’s murder differ from each other, they have some deeply distressing commonalities: they are both child victims of the impunity enjoyed by messianic, militant Jewish extremists, and they are both murders which proper law enforcement and sentencing should have prevented.

We decided to make these posters in light of the rich visual language of grief in Israel. Especially in Jerusalem, it is common for families to post mourning notices of this particular style all around the city to announce a death. In some parts of the city, on certain walls and messageboards, you can see layers upon layers of these posters. Months and months, sometimes years, of personal grief turned communal. See full gallery of images here.

The initiative was supported by a large group of individuals who volunteered to reprint and distribute the notices.

Press Coverage:

News of the project spread mostly through social media and the American Jewish press, with articles in JTA and The Forward. Press coverage included that in the Israeli newsmagazine +972, personal blogs, and an interview in the arts magazine Hyperallergic.

T'ruah, The Rabbinic Call for Human Rights, has made PDFs of the posters a permanent resource on their website, and emailed their list of 1800 rabbis/cantors.

Notices for the boy’s father, Saad Dawabshe, and mother, Riham Dawabshe, were added when news arrived of their deaths, on August 8, 2015, and September 6, 2015.