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צילום: שלומי כהן
Attorney Yair Nehorai
Photo: Shlomi Cohen
Flag-burner gets community service
Jerusalem resident, Yehiel Hazan exhibits unruly behavior during one of Israel's most solemn days; receives 120 hours of community service

The Jerusalem Magistrate's Court sentenced Yehiel Hazan, 22, on Monday morning, to 120 hours of community service.

 

Hazan was convicted two and a half years ago of burning the national flag and stomping on it during Israel's Fallen Soldiers and Victims of Terrorism Remembrance Day.

 

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The indictment claimed that Hazan participated in an unruly gathering at the capital's Shabbat Square.

 

Gathered there with other youths, he began jumping, clapping his hands and growling upon the sounding of the Remembrance Day siren. He later set fire to an Israeli flag and stomped on it together with the other youths. 


ההפגנה בערב יום הזיכרון (צילום: סוכנות הידיעות "חדשות 24")

Remembrance Day riots (Photo: "News 24")

 

The Flag and Emblem Law of 1949 determines that, "a person who insults, or causes to be insulted, the State flag or the State emblem, or uses the State flag or the State emblem in a manner constituting an insult to it, shall be liable to imprisonment for a term not exceeding one year or to a fine not exceeding three hundred pounds or to both such penalties."

 

Hazan is charged with insulting the State flag and causing a public disturbance.

 

During the trial, Hazan's attorney Yair Nehorai claimed that, "burning the flag under the circumstances described in the indictment, should not be considered a criminal offense but rather, protected and permitted in a society that respects its citizens' freedom of expression."

 

Attorney Nehorai also said that even if an act like this causes a public outcry, freedom of expression should always outweigh concern for public feelings.

 

The court rejected his claim noted that according to the indictment, the flag-burning occurred as part of a public disturbance and at the most hurtful time for bereaved families.

 

Judge Dov Pollock sentenced Hazan to 120 hours of community service which he will begin within one year's time at the Ezer Mizion organization.

 

Attorney Nehorai responded to the sentence, saying that they will file an appeal and requested that the Magistrate's Court assess if burning the flag is not protected under freedom of expression.

 

 

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