Rights group: make Nazi salutes a criminal offense (JERUSALEM POST) By JOANNA PARASZCZUK 03/21/12)
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Attorneys from a civil rights group slammed on Wednesday Israel´s
lack of legal provision to prosecute people caught making Nazi
salutes in public.
The ´Nazi´ or ´Hitler´ salute, made by raising and straightening the
right arm, was used in 1930s Germany as a form of greeting and sign
of allegiance to Nazi Party leader Adolf Hitler. Today, modified
salutes are used by Neo-Nazis including as an anti-Semitic gesture.
The Legal Forum for the Land of Israel asked the State Attorney´s
Office to prosecute activists it says were photographed making Nazi
salutes during a human rights march in Tel Aviv in December.
However, in response, attorney Dan Eldad, a senior manager in the
State Attorney´s Office Special Assignments Division, said that under
current legislation, it is not possible to criminally prosecute
people for making Nazi salutes.
"This is despite the deep revulsion we all feel towards this
behavior," Eldad added.
Attorney Hila Cohen of the Legal Forum for the Land of Israel said on
Wednesday that the situation was "a legal and moral perversity that
demands a change in the law."
"It is unbelievable that as anti-Semitism flourishes around the
world, Israel´s law enforcement system is unable to deal with those
who make Nazi salutes, and thus say they wish to be like Nazis," she
Cohen said that the State Attorney had previously said they could not
open a criminal investigation after activists published an image of
the prime minister, Binyamin Netanyahu, doctored to make it seem he
was wearing a Nazi officer´s uniform, on the ´Ozer Azrahi´ blog
during the ´tent protests´ that swept the country last summer.
In its letter to the State Attorney´s Office, the Legal Forum had
also asked whether the Nazi saluters could be prosecuted under
Article 4 of the Prevention of Terrorism Ordinance (1948).
That law states that a person who commits an act expressing
identification with a terrorist organization or sympathy for it,
including displaying a symbol or slogan, in a public place can be
criminally prosecuted and if convicted imprisoned for up to three
However, Eldad said that the Prevention of Terrorism Ordinance did
not apply in this situation either, because the issue did not involve
a terrorist organization.
He added that he had passed the Legal Forum´s request to examine
creating legislation specifically banning Nazi-era symbols to
attorney Raz Nazari, the Deputy Attorney General for criminal
matters, who would look into advancing that issue.
Cohen warned that the inability to prosecute those who use Nazi
symbolism could lead to more widespread use of such images.
"It is just not possible that in a country founded and built in part
by Holocaust survivors, no legal solution will be found to deal with
those who attempt to make comparisons between state authorities and
the acts and conduct of the despicable Nazis," she said.
In several countries, including France, Austria and Germany, it is
illegal to display Nazi symbols or make Nazi salutes. Germans
convicted of making ´Hitler salutes´ can face up to three years in
prison. Last month, German football club FC Kaiserslautern called
police after fans made the Nazi salute at Israeli footballer Itay
Schechter during a training session. (© 1995-2011, The Jerusalem Post
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