The Knesset plenum approved on Monday the second and third readings of a bill which seeks to increase the punishment for dishonoring the national flag or emblem.

The bill equates the punishment for dishonoring the national symbols with the punishment for doing the same to the symbols of countries friendly to Israel.

Under Israel’s Flag, Emblem and Anthem Law from 1949, those who dishonor the flag are sentenced to prison for up to a year or receive a fine of up to 300 liras. The amendment, proposed by MK Nava Boker (Likud), makes the offense punishable by a NIS 58,000 fine or up to three years in prison.

Those convicted of the crime could also have a slew of rights revoked, including access to national health care and unemployment benefits and even higher education scholarships.

”Only with effective and harsh punishment will we be able to preserve our sovereignty here,” MK Boker said.

The bill was approved in its third and final reading by a 38-12 vote.

Approved in final vote: Harsher penalties for dishonoring state flag or emblem