Bill upping penalty for burning Israeli flag clears early hurdle

Current penalty is a 300 lira fine, an old Israeli currency no longer in circulation.

March 20, 2016 16:50

Demonstrators burn an Israeli national flag during an anti-Israel protest. (photo credit: REUTERS)

The Ministerial Committee for Legislation approved on Sunday a bill to update the penalty for burning an Israeli flag of 300 lira, worth about 10 agorot in a currency no longer in use, to NIS 50,000.

The bill by MK Nava Boker (Likud) would also increase the possible prison sentence for burning a flag from one year to three.

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Like in most laws in which the prison sentence listed in the law is up to a year, judges currently have the option of fining a flag-burner up to NIS 29,200, even though the specific law against it lists a penalty worth less than a shekel.

The Justice Ministry rejected other articles in Boker’s draft of the bill, such as making flag burners’ ineligible for unemployment benefits or government-funded scholarships. Boker lamented the move, saying it is blocking a deterrent and “the Justice Ministry still does not realize we are at war.”

“Whoever burns a flag must pay the price and not receive benefits,” she stated. “At the same time, I think enforcing the prison sentence will deter flag-burners and stop the inciting demonstrations among Israeli Arabs.”

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