Government assesses bill against Breaking the Silence

The bill will allow the education minister to ban specific individuals or organizations that are not part of the education system from performing anti-IDF activities inside schools.

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January 7, 2017 17:46
1 minute read.
Naftali Bennett

Naftali Bennett. (photo credit: MARC ISRAEL SELLEM)

The Ministerial Committee for Legislation will vote on Sunday whether to endorse a bill that will ban the left-wing NGO Breaking the Silence from schools.

The bill will allow the education minister, “as the head of the system and the person responsible on the Israeli students,” to ban specific individuals or organizations that are not a part of the education system from performing activities inside schools, when the nature of the activities is “undermining the educational goals or harming the IDF soldiers,” according to a ministerial memorandum.

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“Whoever is going around the world aiming to harm the IDF’s soldiers at the UN, in South Africa and in Europe, will not be able enter schools in Israel... I expect full support from all cabinet ministers,” said Education Minister Naftali Bennett, who initiated the bill.

The bill, submitted by Bayit Yehudi MKs Shuli Moalem-Refaeli and Bezalel Smotrich, and signed by lawmakers in coalition and opposition parties, would add “encouraging significant service in the IDF and protecting the status and honor of the IDF,” to the goals of public education listed in the law.

“Anyone that undermines our right to exist in the land of Israel would not be permitted to have a stage in the state’s education system,” said Moalem-Refaeli.

The opposition’s Yesh Atid leader Yair Lapid expressed his support for the bill.

“We cannot allow organizations that encourages draft-dodging and calls the IDF officers and soldiers criminals inside the Israeli education system.

“Those kind of organizations harms the soldiers, putting them in danger of facing a trial and slamming Israel among the international community by spreading blunt lies.”

In December 2015, Bennett banned the NGO from the education system for disseminating “lies and propaganda against the IDF.” Despite this directive, principals were not deterred from inviting representatives of the group to speak at their school.

Last month, three high school principals invited the group to speak to teachers and students.

As a result, the Education Ministry released a memorandum in an attempt to refine the current guidelines in place with regards to school discussions on controversial issues and unequivocally ban Breaking the Silence from appearing in schools.

Lidar Gravé-Lazi contributed to this report.


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