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(Archives) Photo: Ohad Zwigenberg
(Archives) Photo: Ohad Zwigenberg
 
 

Haredi to court: Limit Remembrance Day siren

In petition, ultra-Orthodox man says Remembrance Day siren 'classic characteristic of a dictatorship'

Kobi Nahshoni
Published: 03.30.13, 07:46 / Israel Jewish Scene

An ultra-Orthodox man recently petitioned the High Court of Justice to limit the nationwide siren on Remembrance Day so that it sounds "only at places where memorial ceremonies are held."

 

Elhanan Ostrowitz, who filed the petition, made headlines last year when he spray-painted slogans against Zionism at the Yad Vashem Holocaust Museum and other sites.

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Ostrowitz wrote in his petition that the siren, which sounds for a minute across Israel on Remembrance Day, is a "classic characteristic of a dictatorship," prevents people from freely expressing their opinions and beliefs and also causes unnecessary panic among the public.

 

He claimed the law demanding that "all work and traffic be stopped" while the siren sounds is undemocratic, as it hurts the individual's freedoms of expression, occupation and other basic rights.

 

Most of the people who stand at attention when the siren sounds do so "out of fear and against their personal belief," Ostrowitz, 31, wrote in his petition.

 

He further claimed that Israel "is the only place in the Western world, or maybe the entire world, where a siren is sounded in the entire public sphere," adding that even dictatorial regimes do not force all groups and sectors to stand at collective attention.

 

Speaking to Ynet, Ostrowitz said the siren "is not a normal thing. If (Israel) is a democracy and part of the Western world, as people claim, then there is room for a serious discussion on this issue.

 

"This petition should be granted for the sake of the entire public's freedom and liberty," he told Ynet.

 

About a year-and-a-half ago Ostrowitz was convicted of a number of crimes, including trespassing and vandalism, after he sprayed anti-Zionist graffiti at Yad Vashem and Ammunition Hill. He also tried to burn an Israeli flag at a memorial in the Jordan Valley.

 

During his interrogation he said, "If I could, I would blow up the Knesset, the Supreme Court and a number of army bases."

 

 

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