January 9, 2012
Knesset committee approves bill prohibiting use of Holocaust terms
A Knesset committee has approved a law that would prohibit the use of Holocaust and Nazi terms and symbols.
The Ministerial Legislation Committee on Monday approved the proposed bill, which would level an up to $26,000 fine and six months in jail for using the yellow Star of David or the term Nazi, for example.
The bill was proposed by lawmaker Uri Ariel of the National Union party, who was joined by Ruhama Avraham-Balila, Otniel Schneller and Marina Solodkin of the Kadima Party, Eitan Cabel of the Labor Party, and Aryeh Eldad of the National Union party in proposing the bill.
Some lawmakers have rejected the bill, saying it hurts the principle of freedom of expression.
“Sadly, in recent years we have witnessed a growing trend where Nazi symbols are used with flippancy and complete disregard for the feelings of the Holocaust survivors and their decedents. This use is completely illegitimate and it makes no difference if those behind the use are Bilin rioters, haredim or price tag criminals,” Ariel told reporters.
The bill comes on the heels of a haredi Orthodox demonstration in Jerusalem in which the demonstrators, including many young children, wore yellow stars as Jews were forced to do in Europe during World War II, and after the distribution of a poster depicting Jerusalem’s police chief dressed as Hitler, as well as calling police and soldiers “Nazi” by extremist right-wing settlers.