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February 28, 2018 12:54 pm

Knesset Puts Forth First Reading of Bill to Ban Far-Left Groups From Israeli Schools

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The Israeli Knesset building. Photo: Wikimedia Commons. – The Israeli Knesset on Monday approved the first reading of a law that would enable the minister of education to ban organizations critical of the Israel Defense Forces from lecturing in government-funded schools.

The law, first proposed by Israeli Education Minister Naftali Bennett (Jewish Home) and MK Shuli Moalem-Refaeli (Jewish Home) in 2016, is seen as a directed toward far-left groups such as Breaking the Silence, but gives the education minister the power to ban any groups “that work to damage the IDF.”

The new bill would also include incentives to serve in the IDF or national service as part of state educational curriculum, and would prevent the entrance of entities that contradict those goals or take active part in targeting IDF soldiers for legal action.

“Breaking the Silence spreads lies about the IDF, its soldiers and its commanders around the world,” said Moalem-Refaeli. “This organization does not actually pretend to right wrongs. Instead, it undermines the state and the Israeli educational system’s goals. We cannot allow them into schools.”

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Founded in 2004, Breaking the Silence works to collect reports on alleged abuses of Israeli soldiers operating in the disputed territories.

In a response to the legislation, the organization replied that “the only way to stop us is to end the occupation.”

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