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Israel apologises for 'deplorable' use of Singapore flag as tablecloth

Singapore's foreign ministry calls Israeli diplomat's use of flag 'a serious offence' and welcomed the embassy's apology
Israel said it would discipline the offender (AFP)

Israel said on Thursday it has apologised for the "deplorable behaviour" of a junior diplomat at its embassy in the city-state who allegedly used a Singapore flag as a tablecloth during a party.

Local media said Singapore's foreign ministry had summoned the Israeli ambassador after a police report was filed about the incident on Sunday and the identity of the diplomat was revealed.

"The Embassy of the State of Israel in Singapore was appalled to learn of deplorable behaviour displayed by one of its junior staff members and expresses its sincere apologies," the Israeli embassy said in a press statement.

It said that the director-general of Israel's foreign ministry "has instructed that requisite strong disciplinary procedure will be adopted against" the diplomat.

The statement said the disciplinary measures reflected "the severity with which Israel views this incident, especially in light of the close and friendly relationship between Singapore and Israel".

Singapore's foreign ministry said that "the misuse of the Singapore flag is a serious offence" and welcomed the embassy's apology and assurances that the diplomat concerned would be punished.

"All persons, including diplomats and foreigners in Singapore, must respect and abide by our laws and regulations," the foreign ministry said.

Neither the Israeli not Singapore statements gave details of the incident, but local media said it referred to the Singapore flag being used as a tablecloth during a party hosted by the diplomat at his flat.

A social media user who posted a photo of the flag being misused said he was "shocked" to see a group of Caucasians who "actually used our Singapore flag as a tablecloth!"