Opposition MKs mock patriotism 'arms race' by right-wing lawmakers

Likud MKs propose bill prohibiting lawmakers from appearing at events without an Israeli flag present.

Benjamin Netanyahu and Barack Obama against a backdrop of Israeli flags and American flags (photo credit: KEVIN LAMARQUE/REUTERS)
Benjamin Netanyahu and Barack Obama against a backdrop of Israeli flags and American flags
Opposition MKs ridiculed and derided a new proposal by MKs on the Right that would require an Israeli flag to be present at any event in which lawmakers participate.
Opposition MKs took to social media to mock what they characterized as an arms race of patriotism on the Right in response to the bill.
MK Shelly Yacimovich (Zionist Union) posted on Facebook a photo of herself on a bicycle decorated with nine Israeli flags.
“I’m determined to win the patriotism contest,” she wrote.
“If you haven’t heard yet, in the framework of the bitter competition over who is a greater patriot in the Likud, there is a new, especially bizarre bill.”
Yacimovich wrote that she remembered the night before she spoke at a parlor meeting in Rishon Lezion; during that meeting there were only family photos on the walls, and no flags.
“I said to myself: This cannot happen again! I’m going to some meetings now, and I came prepared,” she added.
MK Ilan Gilon (Meretz) tweeted a photo of himself sitting on the scooter he uses because of his disability, with a flag perched in its basked.
“You won’t catch me unprepared!” he wrote. “From now on, the national flag is on my scooter, which goes with me everywhere.”
MK Ahmad Tibi (Joint List) had a more indignant response: “The bill is bizarre and ridiculous and is a sign of the Knesset deteriorating to a new nadir of neo-fascism.
“I won’t be surprised if tomorrow they propose that all preschools must sing Hatikva and everyone must wear a Magen David necklace from age 16,” Tibi added.
The bill, proposed by MK Oren Hazan (Likud) and cosponsored by legislators from the Likud, Bayit Yehudi and Yisrael Beytenu, states that an Israeli flag must be set up at any public event in which an official state representative – meaning the president, prime minister, MKs, ministers or ambassadors – participates, including events at which they give a speech.
The flag must be in a noticeable place on the stage throughout the speech.
If there is no flag at an event to which a state representative is invited, the organizers will have to pay a NIS 5,000 fine, and the lawmaker or other official may not participate in future events organized by the same group for the next six months.
Hazan wrote in the bill’s explanatory section that it was inspired by President Reuven Rivlin’s participation in a Haaretz conference in New York in December, during which an Israeli flag was taken out of the hall at the request of Palestinian negotiator Saeb Erekat.