Israeli embassy apologises for tablecloth gaff

There’s often someone looking down on you in Singapore. Source: Wikimedia

A junior security guard at the Israeli embassy in Singapore sparked a diplomatic incident when he was photographed at a party in his home using a Singapore flag as a tablecloth. 

The Israeli Foreign Ministry said the guard would be moved out of Singapore since his actions could be considered a desecration of the flag, which is a criminal offence in the authoritarian city-state.

One of the guard’s neighbours, who lives in a higher apartment, photographed a gathering at the Israeli’s balcony last Sunday, December 27, on Levelz Condo at Farrer Road, and released the pictures to the media.

A Singapore flag can be seen placed on a table, with bottles of alcohol and other items like a pair of sunglasses.

The embassy’s head of security was apparently in attendance at the party.

The embassy apologised, describing it as a “deplorable behaviour”.

A press statement said the embassy was “appalled” to learn of the staff member’s actions.

“The Director General of Israel’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs has instructed that requisite strong disciplinary procedure will be adopted against the individual after his meeting with the Singapore authorities, reflecting the severity with which Israel views this incident, especially in light of the close and friendly relationship between Singapore and Israel,” the embassy said.

Photos of the incident surfaced on the news site All Singapore Stuff. Channel NewsAsia reported that a police report was made and that the Israeli ambassador was summoned by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

Singapore’s MFA said it welcomed the Israeli apology as well as its assurances that it would undertake the necessary disciplinary action against the staff member in question.

“The misuse of the Singapore flag is a serious offence,” MFA said. “All persons, including diplomats and foreigners in Singapore, must respect and abide by our laws and regulations.”

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