A new initiative, if approved, will enable Israel supporters to express their love for Israel on their cars.
Ohio drivers will soon be able to show their support for the State of Israel on their car license plates if a proposed bill is approved by the state legislature.
The Cleveland Jewish News reported Friday that the proposed law, House Bill 397, cites that the owner or lessee of any car may apply to the registrar for the issuance of an “I Stand with Israel” license plate.
The bill was introduced to the Ohio House of Representatives on November 16, and the primary sponsor of the bill is Ohio Representative Andy Thompson.
There are 18 co-sponsors of the bill, including Ohio Representative Stephen Slesnick. “I support this bill because it’s a pro-Israel bill, and my job as a Jewish legislator is not only to represent my constituents but also to represent every single Jew in Ohio,” said Slesnick to the Cleveland Jewish News. “I just want to make sure that I do what’s best for supporting Israel.”
Chris Berry, spokesman for Ohio State Treasurer Josh Mandel, said he and Mandel support the initiative.
“We support Representative Thompson’s idea and believe that his head and heart are in the right place. The state of Israel and the Jewish community should be thankful for stalwart friends like Representative Thompson,” Berry said to the Cleveland Jewish News.
Slesnick said he isn’t sure what the proposed license plates would look like or when the House may vote on the proposed bill.
Abbas Hamideh, co-founder of Al-Awda, The Palestinian Right to Return Coalition, called the bill “disheartening.”
“If someone wants to support something, they have every right to support it, so I wouldn’t be against someone freely supporting anything they want. But as a Palestinian, I would be opposed to the idea myself,” Hamideh said.
South Carolina is the only other state that has a similar license plate, Slesnick said.
The plates display intertwined flags of Israel and South Carolina. To date, 66 of these special plates have been issued.