Palestinian given $207-fine for wearing underwear on Israeli beach

Published 30.06.2017 11:10

A Palestinian man who had not seen the sea in 20 years was fined 730 shekels ($207) on an Israe-li beach for wearing underpants rather than a bathing suit. The man claimed that he was discrimi-nated against, as he noted there were Israeli citizens also wearing underpants but were not fined.

Hakam Habash, a factory worker from Nablus, was given a permit to visit Israel during daylight hours in the month of Ramadan.

Having not seen the sea in around two decades, 36-year-old Habash decided to visit Herzl Beach in Netanya.

A municipal inspector asked to see his entry permit, which was valid, but then fined Habash and his three friends 730 shekels each for wearing underpants rather than bathing suits.

Habash has four children and earns 950 shekels a month at the Nablus factory, which produces jeans for Israel. Therefore he had to pay 76 percent of his monthly wage to cover the 730-shekel fine.

Habash has stated that Israelis on the same beach were also wearing underpants, but they were not fined.

The reason for the fine was stated as "paragraph 99" of the city's rules, which states "No one shall be at the seashore without regular clothing or a bathing suit."

The rule, intended to prohibit nudity, does not specify that underpants are not regular clothing.

Only eight people have been fined for this offense over the last year.

Habash has said that he cannot afford the fine. If he does not pay, he may not be able to enter Is-rael again or see the sea.

"I showed the copy of the fine to Jews I know in Samaria and they were amazed," he told the Haaretz newspaper. "This fine changed my opinion about the people of Israel. I thought they were cultured people. I guess I won't be able to see the sea again, because I can't make the payment, unless I use my pension or give up eating and drinking. This whole story is very unfair and fool-ish."

This is not the first time that Palestinians or Arab Israelis have been subjected to prejudice in Net-anya. Two Arab women were attacked at Sironit Beach in 2015, and two Arab Israelis were at-tacked with sticks and stones on Netanya beach last year.

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