Israel: Bill seeks ban on waving Palestinian flags at university campuses

A fan waves a Palestinian flag during the Qatar 2022 World Cup (AFP)

MEE Staff

Middle East Eye  /  December 1, 2022

The draft law, which has yet to be voted on to pass, proposes six months’ suspension for any student in breach.

An Israeli lawmaker has proposed a bill that would ban the Palestinian flag inside campuses of universities and colleges in Israel, and discipline students who breach it.

Shlomo Karhi of the Likud party had submitted an amendment to the Higher Education Law, prohibiting the showing of Palestinian flags throughout campuses after several students waved Palestine flags on Tuesday at Tel Aviv University during a cultural event.

The amendment will also prohibit waving flags of states which Israel considers hostile in its Penal Code, such as IranSyria and the Palestinian Authority.

Karhi proposed that any student waving a Palestinian flag on campus should face a suspension of six months. And if their offence was repeated, they would face expulsion from the academic institution and their right to get a degree would be revoked.

In addition, students pursuing a degree abroad would not see their certificates recognized by the Ministry of Education for 10 years if they breached the law.

A similar amendment was proposed to the previous Knesset and was passed in a preliminary reading. Karhi’s bill has yet to be voted on the necessary three times to pass.

‘An enemy flag’

Karhi told Israel Hayom newspaper that waving a Palestinian flag at Tel Aviv University “will not happen again”.

“The phenomenon in which troublemakers in Israel wave the [Palestine Liberation Organization] flag, symbolizing the desire to destroy our Jewish and democratic state, in the name of academic freedom, should disappear from the world,” he said, referring to the Palestinian flag as the PLO flag.

“The bill I submitted states that it will be prohibited to fly an enemy flag, including the PLO flag, throughout the campuses and in general. An academic institution that does not cooperate will have its budgets revoked.

“We will raise the Israeli flag to the top of the mast and restore national pride,” he concluded.

Karhi’s Likud party is headed by the incoming Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who has been conducting talks in recent weeks to form a government.