The Ministerial Law Committee on Sunday approved for a first Knesset vote a law that would forbid use of Nazi symbols, or calling someone a Nazi. The law was proposed by MK Shimon Ohayon (Likud-Beytenu) in response to neo-Nazi activity in Israel.
Although it is not clear how or why such groups have sprung up in the Jewish state, various neo-Nazi gangs have undertaken arson attacks against synagogues, scrawled anti-Semitic and pro-Nazi graffiti, and beaten up numerous people, mostly older Israelis.
Various gangs have been discovered in Jerusalem, Petach Tikvah, and Ariel, made up exclusively of immigrant youths (nearly all non-Jewish) from former Soviet Union countries and Eastern Europe.
Commenting on the approval, Ohayon, who also heads the Knesset lobby on anti-Semitism, said that “it is very important that Israel join the many countries in Europe that prohibit all use of Nazi symbols. These are a danger to Jews wherever they are, and as long as these symbols are not illegal in Israel we cannot go to the nations with complaints about how they allow their use,” Ohayon added.
The use of "Nazi" as an epithet is not uncommon in demonstrations by hareidim, and is mostly directed at police. However, leftists are also very fond of comparing nationalists to Nazis. Some Arabs in the Palestinian Authority openly resort to Nazi imagery against Israel.