The Israeli Knesset on Monday passed an amendment to Israel’s Flag and Emblem Law that makes burning the Israeli flag a criminal offense punishable by a roughly $15,000 fine or up to three years in jail.
The amendment passed a second and third hearing by a majority of 38 Members of Knesset to 12. Under the previous law, the maximum penalty for desecrating the flag was one year in jail or a small fine of $78. The amended legislation also gives Israeli courts judicial discretion to deny an individual convicted of burning the flag certain state-funded benefits—including scholarships as well as health and social security benefits—for up to six years.
MK Nava Boker (Likud), who sponsored the bill, said in March, “I presented this bill following the incitement and riots we have been seeing in Arab towns in Israel….It is time to impose a harsher sentence and a hefty fine to end this disgraceful phenomenon.”