Bill proposing ban of Palestinian flag a priority of new gov’t, says freshman MK

“It is unthinkable that our enemies and their supporters will fly here the flags of those who seek to murder us and our children and do everything to further that goal,” the lawmaker said.

By Batya Jerenberg, World Israel News

A Likud lawmaker said he will make it a priority after the new government is sworn in on Thursday to pass a law making it illegal to wave the Palestinian flag, Ynet reported Wednesday.

“If an Israeli identifies as Palestinian and waves the Palestinian flag, I fully respect him and support his choice,” said MK Eliyahu Revivo in an interview on Ynet Radio. “But let him give us back the blue ID card and the passport and free us from bearing his burden and that of his family.”

The freshman MK submitted a bill earlier this month prohibiting the flying of all flags of states considered Israeli enemies, including the Palestinian Authority (PA).

“The State of Israel, as a democratic country, allows its citizens to protest on issues where they disagree with the decisions of the authorized authorities. However, the bill places a red line between a legitimate protest and a protest during which the flags of those who do not recognize the State of Israel or pose a threat to its existence are raised,” according to the proposed law.

“It is unthinkable that our enemies and their supporters will fly here the flags of those who seek to murder us and our children and do everything to further that goal,” Revivo said.

Read  PA campaign taunts Israeli police over taking down Palestinian flags in Jerusalem, Tel Aviv

While he is in favor of freedom of speech, he added, it has “nothing in common with support for the enemy and terrorism,” and he “expects the Zionist factions in the Opposition to support the law.”

There is currently no law banning the flying of any flags of enemy states or hostile entities in Israel, nor is the PA legally considered an unfriendly body.

Last month, fellow Likud MK Shlomo Karhi tabled a more limited version of Revivo’s suggestion, but one that closed that loophole.

Following a cultural event at Tel Aviv University where many Palestinian flags were waved, causing an uproar, Karhi tabled an amendment to the Law of Higher Education prohibiting the flying of flags of all “hostile authorities” on college campuses. The bill simultaneously proposed to define the Palestinian Authority as a hostile entity in Israel’s penal code.

The penalty for students or faculty members waving any such flag is listed as a six-month suspension for the first infraction and expulsion if done again. Any degree the students may subsequently obtain will not being recognized by the state for 10 years, even if earned abroad.

In addition, any institution that allows flags of hostiles to be flown on campus will be stripped of a portion of the state-supplied budget.

Read  Pro-Hamas lobbying group in UK accuses Israeli lawmakers of racism

Karhi called it a matter of “national pride,” saying, “The phenomenon in which troublemakers wave the PLO flag, symbolizing the desire to destroy our Jewish and democratic state, in the name of academic freedom, must disappear from the world.”

This is not the first time this year that such an effort has been made.

In May, while sitting in the Opposition, yet another Likud MK, Eli Cohen, proposed outlawing the display of all enemy flags, including the Palestinian one, at all institutions that receive government funding. His bill came on the heels of a pro-Palestinian rally at Ben-Gurion University of the Negev, where students waved dozens of Palestinian flags and sang nationalist songs while Jewish students held a counter-demonstration, with police separating the two groups.

It passed overwhelmingly in its preliminary reading, 63-16, with most members of the coalition absent from the plenum. However, since there was no further activity on the bill, the legislative process must start from the beginning in the winter session of Knesset, with the new government at its helm.