TEL AVIV – The Ministerial Committee for Legislation approved a bill on Sunday to increase the fine for burning an Israeli flag to NIS 50,000 ($13,000) the Jerusalem Post reported.
The law currently stipulates that violators be charged a penalty of 300 lira, which equals to less than a cent in Israel’s long obsolete currency.
The bill, introduced by MK Nava Boker (Likud), would also increase the possible prison sentence for burning a flag from one year to three.
Judges have the option of fining a flag-burner up to NIS 29,200 or sentencing them to prison for up to one year.
The Justice Ministry rejected other articles in Boker’s draft of the bill, including revoking flag-burners’ eligibility for unemployment benefits or government-funded scholarships.
Boker objected to this, saying, “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.”
The bill was first filed at the onset of the current upsurge in Palestinian violence against Israelis.
During demonstrations at several universities in Israel, Arab students burned the flag in protest.
A month after the violence began, Palestinians in Gaza burned the U.S., UK, and Israeli flag during a rally denouncing the anniversary of the 1917 Balfour Declaration in which Britain agreed to sponsor a Jewish National Home in Palestine.