Law banning Palestinian flags at Israeli universities advances in Knesset

Lawmakers noted that the Palestinian Authority bans flying the Israeli flag.

By Aryeh Savir, TPS

A majority of the members of the Ministerial Committee for Legislation voted on Sunday in favor of a proposed bill that would ban the hoisting of the Palestine Liberation Organization flag in Israeli universities.

The bill banning the hoisting of an enemy flag, including that of the PLO, in places budgeted or supported by the state, was put forward by opposition MK Eli Cohen (Likud).

The bill was presented following a series of recent events in which Israeli campuses were overwhelmed by students marching with PLO flags. The events lamented Israel’s existence by marking the Nakba and included marches with PLO flags, calls for terrorism during student protests, calls for revenge, and calls for another Intifada.

A majority of seven ministers voted in favor of the proposal, and two ministers, Tamar Zandberg from Meretz and Nachman Shai from Labor, voted against it.

Minister Zeev Elkin, the committee’s chair, noted that terror victims and others are offended or intimidated by the flag. He noted that terror victims were offended by the flag because the PLO transfers stipends to terrorists who committed attacks against Israelis.

He also noted that in the Palestinian Authority, it is illegal to fly an Israeli flag.

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The bill will pass on the plenum for its first reading later this week.

The Knesset’s Education, Culture, and Sports Committee held a heated debate last Monday on the topic of “Freedom of expression, incitement and violence on campuses,” following the latest pro-Palestinian and anti-Israel events at universities.

A student from Tel Aviv University, Orit Eliyahu, told the meeting’s participants that Jewish students “are going through a very difficult period. There are people who live with me in the dormitories and decided to return to living with their parents because they’re afraid.”

“Raising a PLO flag, an enemy flag, has become a routine thing, but it’s frightening to raise an Israeli flag. On Yom KaZikaron (Memorial Day), the Arab students laughed at us for standing still during the [memorial] siren. Arab students who sit with us in lectures tell us that they want to murder us, and a day afterward they sit next to us in the lecture hall. We’re trembling with fear,” she shared.