Feature

In 1997, Tatiana Soskin was convicted by the Jerusalem District Court of offending religious sensitivities and sentenced to two years in jail and a one-year suspended sentence. Soskin was apprehended in Hebron while carrying a flyer depicting a pig wrapped in a kaffiyeh treading on an open book. The word, «Mohammed,» was written on the pig and «Koran» was written on the book.

Supreme Court Justice Theodor Or rejected Soskin’s appeal despite the ostensible blow to freedom of expression, ruling that , «a position whereby every expression that has the potential to offend religious sensitivities will be considered a crime according to this law undermines the basic right to freedom of expression.»

Or decided to apply the section banning offending religious sensitivities, but limited it. He ruled that not every serious offense is to be considered prohibited, rather only one that causes damage to the «interests of the members of that particular religion as a whole, as opposed to damage to the religious sensitivities of a given individual or another.»

Before us, we have a double limiting of the law: Freedom of expression was determined to be overriding the offense to religious sensitivities, and only the public interest – as opposed to offending an individual – was recognized as eligible for legal protection.


Make fun of God, but leave his believers alone