Shas MK Proposes Bill Outlawing Public Nudity

After failing to prevent nude photo shoot at Dead Sea last year, MK Nissim Zeev seeks one-year jail terms for anyone stripping in public.

MK Nissim Zeev (Shas) has submitted a bill that would mandate one-year prison terms for anyone who strips naked in public for commercial or artistic purposes.

Dubbed the Spencer Tunick bill," after the American photographer who staged a nude photo shoot last September at the Dead Sea, the bill would make public nudity illegal except in certain areas designated for nude bathing.

Last year, Zeev led the effort to prevent Tunick's photo shoot, in which over 1,000 Israelis participated, from taking place. At the time, Zeev called the photo shoot "an act of prostitution in the guise of art" and warned that it would corrupt the morals of Israeli youth.

After failing to foil the event, Zeev pledged to head off similar events in the future through legislative means.  

In the explanatory notes to the law, Zeev wrote, "The determination that pornographic expression (including public nudity for art or advertising) is protected by freedom of expression and is an expression of human creation in the modern era and promotes public discourse, is contrary to the basic principle mentioned in the UN Declaration of Human Rights."

"When progress in 'the public discourse' comes at the expense of a broad public of Jews, Muslims, Christians and members of other religions in the country, and constitutes an insult to religious precepts regarding modesty and a serious transgression of forbidden sexual relations, and infringes on religious sentiments of religious citizens – this is a violation of their rights and a fundamental restriction must be placed on it."

In the bill, Zeev also quoted Dov Litvinoff, head of the Tamar Regional Council, which borders the Dead Sea. Litvinoff said last year that "such a mass shoot, which offends a large population in Israel, which comes to stay and travel in the region, does not add to this [natural] marvel but could very well detract from it."

The Ministerial Committee for Legislation is expected to decide on Sunday whether or not the government will support the bill.

Read this article in Hebrew

Israelis posing nude at the Dead Sea, September 2011.
Emil Salman