Newark Town Council was inquired by a member of the public of why the Israeli flag isn’t flying over the Town Hall at Newark Market Place
A council has decided to not take a political side after a member of the public asked why Israel’s flag isn’t flying over the top of the Town Hall.
The default position for the Newark Town Hall flag pole is the Union Jack, however, however, there are circumstances when the flag is changed.
Special circumstances include twinning events, where the town might fly the national flag of the twin town or the town flag of the twin town.
During significant Polish events, the Polish flag might be seen and during the Poppy Appeal, the Royal British Legion flag is flown.
The inquiry sent by a member of the public via the MP’s office said: “Why is the flag of Israel not flying over the town hall in Newark Market Square?
“Seeing as the Ukrainian flag was flown there for many weeks (after the removal of the Union Jack) to show the councils solidarity with Ukraine, it can only be right to show the same support for Israel.
“Let’s see it fly, only this time do not disrespect the people of Newark by removing our Union Jack.”
Newark Town Council has received a request through the Parliamentary Office of Robert Jenrick to fly an Israel flag above the Town Hall on November 9.
On October 8 this year, the Government made a request that the Israeli glad should flow from government buildings from October 8 to 10.
The request made to Boroughs and Districts was optional as it was followed by a “may wish to follow suit.”
Councillors agreed that the current Israel-Palestine situation is an awful conflict, however, they agreed to not take sides and fly either of the flags.
Councillor Paul Taylor said: “I think this is a really difficult one. On the first day of the conflict, I would have probably said yes, on the first day.
“This continued to be an atrocity, with thousands of people dying, children, and I could no longer agree to fly the Israeli flag, I don’t want to be flying the Palestinian flag either.
“The Ukrainian flag went up, I was supportive of and would agree to it again if it was the same situation but when you’re seeing the number of deaths on both sides, I am not taking any sides in this, it’s human beings dying in bulk and I wouldn’t want this council to be commemorating or supporting either side by flying the flag.”
UK Government directives issued in 2021 say that a Union Flag should always be flown on public buildings.
There was some public controversy in 2022 and 2023 over flying the Ukrainian flag on Government buildings in London, including HM Treasury.
On a debate over flying other nations' flags, including twinning towns and other occasions, members of the town council agreed that there are differences between political conflicts and supportive or welcoming acts.
Lisa Gueary said: “A few people have said they don’t want any other flags and I just wanted to make a distinction between when we fly a flag because we are welcoming visitors to the town hall from our town twinning partners and when we fly Polish flags around like when we have things like the repatriation of the Polish presidents and it is to show respect to the visitors and welcoming them.
“It is a very different situation to this political situation and I wouldn’t want us to make a rule that prevents us from doing this because it is educational for the town and supportive.”
It was agreed that the Israeli flag would not be flying over Newark Town Hall.