Israeli flags 311.
(photo credit: Marc Israel Sellem)
In the weeks before Independence Day, Israelis deck out their cars, their
houses, and sometimes even their barbeque grills in Israeli flags, in what may
be a patriotic habit, but one whose economic benefit is only felt thousands of
kilometers away from Israel’s borders. Not for long, says a group of MKs who
succeeded Wednesday in passing in its preliminary reading a bill that would
mandate that Israeli flags are manufactured in Israel.
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In recent years,
production of Israeli flags has been dominated by a number of foreign states,
including China and Turkey, due to cheaper manufacturing costs. It has also led
to flags, given away for free to thousands a couple of years ago, which were
The bill’s sponsors said that the growing reliance
on imported flags has led to the failure of textile plants in Israel that
produced national flags.
The bill is an amendment to the Law of the Flag
and National Symbol, and would mandate that Israeli flags must be manufactured
in Israel. In addition to Knesset Economic Affairs Committee Chairman Ofir
Akunis (Likud), the bill was sponsored by a number of MKs from both coalition
and opposition parties – MKs Shelly Yacimovich (Labor), Alex Miller (Israel
Beiteinu) and Majallie Whbee (Kadima).
It not only restricts production
of Israeli flags to Israeli-owned companies or Israeli citizens or permanent
residents, but also forbids the sale of foreign-produced flags, including a
special clause to prohibit the acquisition of foreign-made Israeli flags or
symbols of the State of Israel by any institution that receives over 50% of its
funding from the government.
Akunis said that they would push to complete
the legislation in advance of Independence Day, which will be celebrated on May
10, 2011. To that end, Akunis is fast-tracking the bill in his committee, with
the first hearing on the legislation slated for this coming Monday.
is both a national and a social law of the first order,” said Akunis. “We must
do everything we can to encourage and develop Israeli industry, especially
industries in the periphery, and it is appropriate that we begin by having
public institutions purchase Israeli-made goods.”
The bill enjoys strong
support from the Manufacturers’ Association of Israel, but faced some initial
apprehension within the government.
That opposition vanished on Monday,
when the Ministerial Committee for Legislation reached an agreement between the
bill’s sponsors on one side and the Ministries of Justice and Industry, Trade
and Labor on the other that the law’s advancement would not in any way harm
existing international trade agreements.
The bill’s sponsors convinced
the committee that the law, in its current format, had no impact on existing