Daily Israel Report

Israel Apologizes to India Over Orange Ban

Foreign Minister Silvan Shalom was forced to issue an official apology to the Indian Embassy, after Knesset security personnel prevented Indian legislators clad in orange from entering the Knesset.
First Publish: 5/23/2005, 9:29 AM / Last Update: 5/23/2005, 11:30 AM

The incident occurred yesterday, when members of India's largest opposition faction, the Hindu nationalist Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), visited the Knesset while wearing orange scarves. Orange is their party's official color - but the Knesset guards were not impressed. Apparently told to prevent the color orange from being brought into the Knesset because of its association with the anti-expulsion protest campaign, the guards immediately informed the visitors that they could enter - but without their scarves. The scarves were returned to the lawmakers at the conclusion of their visit.

"I found it to be ridiculous not to allow a piece of cloth," one of the Indian delegation members told Army Radio. "Those are messages of intolerance. Today it's cloth, and soon it could be ideas that are barred."

Minister Shalom issued an official apology to the Indian Embassy this morning, and transmitted a similar message to the Indian Foreign Ministry.

Israeli guards are apparently unduly sensitive to the color orange. Arutz-7 reported last week on several cases of worshipers not being allowed to visit the Western Wall on Remembrance Day because they had orange shirts or ribbons in their bags.

In addition, MK Moshe Kachlon (Likud) related the following story yesterday. He said he was attending the International Bible Contest in Jerusalem on Independence Day ten days ago, when his wife noticed that their son had seemingly disappeared. Kachlon went to search for him, and found that his son had left for a moment, and was then not permitted to re-enter because he was wearing an orange shirt - with no writing on it. The MK explained that his son had no political machinations, and the boy was permitted to enter.