An Israeli Minister has submitted a bill for approval that would outlaw public nudity anywhere in the country except at established nude beaches. An outspoken opponent of Spencer Tunick’s September, 2011 nude photo shoot at a secret location along the Dead Sea, which attracted 1,000 Israelis keen to draw attention to the dire ecological state of the world’s deepest hypersaline lake, MK Nissim Zeev was unable to prevent its eventual occurrence.
Although certain of Tunick’s images snapped that day are worth $2,000 and the event was hailed as a powerful event that demonstrates Israel’s commitment to democracy, Zeev has not let go of his failure to protect religious interests in the country and now proposes a mandatory sentence of one year in prison for anyone who strips naked for either artistic or commercial purposes in public spaces.
Zeev argued last year that the mass photo shoot, the last in a long series of similar shoots taken in politically, socially or ecologically sensitive sites from China to Spain, was an “act of prostitution in the guise of art,” Haaretz reports.
He added that it would corrupt the Israeli youth.
In the introductory notes to the “Spencer Tunick Bill” 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.”
While many secular Israelis welcomed Tunick and millions of people around the world supported the event, local religious interests were “offended.” Zeev argued that in alienating these interests by proceeding with the naked spectacle, Tunick in essence detract from the Dead Sea’s natural marvel.
In the new bill, he argues that more than merely offending religious interests, public nudity is a violation 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.
The Ministerial Committee for Legislation was expected to decide on Sunday June 10th whether or not the government will support the bill, according to Haaretz, but we’d be very surprised to see it pass.
Given their longstanding history of defending themselves against the oppressive rightwing government, the same Israelis who participated in the naked photo shoot are bound to find a provocative recourse to such a lame and draconian attempt to curtail creative artistic expression.
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