State: Banner Calling on Soldiers to 'Pound' Gaza Doesn't Constitute Incitement

Decision made despite 'superfluous, tasteless' nature of message, deputy state prosecutor says.

Ilan Lior
Ilan Lior
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A sign hung in Or Yehuda, calling on soldiers to 'pound' Gaza.
A sign hung in Or Yehuda, calling on soldiers to 'pound' Gaza.Credit: Appelbaum
Ilan Lior
Ilan Lior

The state prosecutor says there are no grounds for taking legal action against the municipality of Or Yehuda for hanging a banner at the entrance to the city during Operation Protective Edge that read, “Israel Defense Forces soldiers, Or Yehuda’s residents are with you! Pound ‘their mothers’ and return safely to your own mother!” The banner bore the image of the town seal.

After Haaretz reported on the banner Tel Aviv resident Rika Kidan asked the state prosecution to take measures against the municipality for violating the law against incitement to violence.

“After examining the issue, despite the fact that the expression [on the banner] was superfluous, tasteless and it would have been better had it never been made public, we have concluded that its publication does not meet the conditions needed for prosecution under the law against incitement to violence,” Yehuda Shaffer, a deputy state prosecutor, wrote in a letter to Kidan. Since the prosecutor’s office determined that the text of the banner was unlikely to be understood as an explicit call to commit violence, it fell within the definition of protected speech, he said.

Kidan said the response “spit in the face of democracy in Israel, or what is left of it. Maybe the mayor can say such things to his buddies, but it is not appropriate for such a banner to greet visitors to the city.”

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