Police launch probe of artist who allegedly shoved Israeli flag up his behind

Marcy Oster

JERUSALEM (JTA) — Israel Police have opened an investigation into an Israeli performance artist who pushed what was believed to be an Israeli flag up his buttocks while on stage.

Ariel Bronz was removed from the stage Sunday at a conference in Tel Aviv titled “Culture Demands Independence.” Several complaints about the incident were reportedly filed with the police. It is illegal to deface symbols of the State of Israel, including the flag.

Bronz appeared on stage in high heels and a short pink skirt and threw juiced oranges at the audience. He walked around the stage with the flag still inserted in his back side until he was escorted off by ushers.

It was later clarified by several media outlets that the flag was all white, not an Israeli flag as first believed.

A police statement on Monday does not detail if they will continue the investigation, which they called “extraordinary,” the Times of Israel reported.

At least one complaint was filed by Culture Minister Miri Regev, who had given a speech shortly before Bronz’s performance. Regev, who has been under fire recently for proposing a bill to withdraw arts funding for those deemed “not loyal” to Israel, asserted that no one was threatening artistic freedom of expression in Israel.

Bronz is currently appearing in a one-man play titled “Love the Juice: The Art of Squeezing the National Dream Into an Orange.”