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Palestinian flag raises controversy in Israeli universities

Right-wing Knesset members are advancing a bill that would prevent universities and other state-funded institutions from flying the Palestinian flag.
Left-wing Israeli and Palestinian students take part in a Nakba Day ceremony.

The Knesset approved on June 1 the initial reading of a bill by Knesset member Eli Cohen of the Likud that would ban organizations and institutions budgeted for or supported by the state from flying the Palestinian flag. Included among those bodies are all of the country’s public universities.

Although the bill was first proposed by the opposition, it passed with 63 votes in favor and only 16 votes opposed. Prime Minister Naftali Bennett as well as the members of his Yamina party, Yisrael Beitenu and New Hope — all members of the coalition — voted together with the opposition, having been granted the right to vote their conscience. The only people to oppose the bill were the members of left-wing Meretz and Muslim Ra’am from the coalition, and the Arab Joint List from the opposition. Members of the Blue and White and Labor parties absented themselves for the vote, as did most members of Yesh Atid. Only Knesset speaker Mickey Levy of Yesh Atid was in the plenum at the time of the vote, and he voted in favor of the bill.

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