Israeli bill may make Nazi comparisons illegal

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JERUSALEM — A proposed bill would make it a crime in Israel to criticize people by comparing them to Nazis.

The draft legislation would impose penalties of up to six months in jail and a $25,000 fine for using the word "Nazi" or Holocaust symbols for purposes other than teaching, documentation or research.

The draft legislation passed its first hurdle Monday when Cabinet ministers approved it. It now goes to the full parliament for a vote.

The bill was proposed after ultra-Orthodox demonstrators set off a furor by dressing young boys as Nazi concentration camp inmates during a protest against what they said was incitement against their community. Protesters have also called police "Nazis."

The bill has been criticized by civil rights groups that see it as infringing on freedom of expression.

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