Is burning the Israeli flag a chillul Hashem? (See 1:15 in video)
closed as primarily opinion-based by mevaqesh, DonielF, Avrohom Yitzchok, sabbahillel, Shimon bM Mar 7 '17 at 3:21
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It might be a chilul Hashem for all the reasons expressed in the comments above. But it might be more than that. Rav Soloveichik believed the Israeli flag has the Halachik status and Holiness of a murdered Jew’s clothing, and shouldn't be desecrated.
Rav Soloveichik (mentioned in ‘Nefesh Ha’Rav’) says that there is a section in the Shulchan Aruch that relates to the Holiness of the Israeli flag. In Yoreh De’ah 352, it says a person can’t be buried in an expensive shroud. In YD 364 it says, that if a Jew is found murdered, he should be buried in his bloody clothes that he was found in, without the normal shrouds.
Why don’t we bury him in the usual shrouds? The Shach answers that, ”as the Jew was murdered, we bury him as he was found, in order to raise G-d’s anger against the person who killed the Jew”. This means that when G-d sees how the person was buried-in bloody clothes which will arouse G-d’s compassion to take revenge and avenge the spilled Jewish blood.
Rav Soloveichik applies this to the Israeli flag. The Rav said that in 1948 in the War of Independence and subsequently, many heroic fighters have sacrificed their lives in order to raise the Israeli – Jewish flag.
The Rav claimed therefore that the Israeli flag has the Halachik status and Holiness of a murdered Jew’s clothing, as it symbolized spilled Jewish blood. The Rav said when the Israeli flag flies, it arouses G-d’s Divine compassion for Am Yisrael wherever it is seen and that G-d may avenge the spilled Jewish blood.
In the words of R Soloveichik (Chamesh Derashot, p. 90; cf. Nefesh ha-Rav, p. 100) from here
The blue and white flag, soaked with the blood of thousands of young Jews who fell in the War of Independence, protecting the Land and settlements (religious and non-religious, for the enemy, yemach shemam, did not distinguish), has a spark of sanctity that flows from devotion and self-sacrifice. We are all enjoined to honor the flag and treat it with respect.
I remember reading that this was more than hyperbole. Shortly before the 1948 armistice, there was an attempt to plant as many Israeli flags as far as possible in ennemy territory as it was known that, after the armistice, all territories where the Israeli flag was flying would remain Israeli. Many soldiers lost their lives planting these flags.
The State of Israel comprises part of the Jewish mind-space in our era. I.e. regardless of your attitude towards the state, it is part of the Jewish psyche in our times.
Therefore burning the Israeli flag shows contemptuousness for the Jewish people and re-classifies the burner as someone who is not part of that people.