Jenin 311 R.
(photo credit: REUTERS)
A bill allowing class-action lawsuits to be filed against those who slander IDF
soldiers passed a preliminary vote on Wednesday.
According to the
legislation submitted by MK Yoni Chetboun (Bayit Yehudi) and coalition chairman
Yariv Levin (Likud Beytenu), if someone slanders IDF soldiers’ operational
activities, that person can be sued for slander in a class-action
“MKs made the smart, fair and uncompromising decision [to vote in
favor of the bill], with IDF soldiers and the security interests of the State of
Israel in mind. The bill will build morale for soldiers and increase their
motivation and ability to focus on military missions,” Chetboun said.
the same time, Chetboun added, he recognizes the importance of freedom of
expression for those who criticize the IDF – but soldiers should have the right
to defend their good names.
“This is an important step that will defend
the honor of IDF soldiers,” Levin stated. “We should continue working on this
bill so that in the future those who create false propaganda – like the film
Jenin, Jenin – will pay the price.”
The bill was inspired partly by the
2002 film Jenin, Jenin, which claimed that the IDF committed a massacre in the
West Bank refugee camp. Five reserve soldiers filed suit for defamation, but the
judge dismissed their case because they were not personally slandered in the
“Israel’s detractors, who are waging a war of international
delegitimization and want a boycott of our country and citizens, choose IDF
soldiers as an easy target for their accusations and smears, knowing that no
legal action will be taken against them,” the bill’s explanatory portion reads.
“Many claims against IDF soldiers have been proven to be lies... but the
soldiers who were harmed and the reputation of the IDF that was slandered were
left with no judicial response.”
MK Esawi Frej (Meretz) argued against
the bill, saying it is undemocratic and racist.
“Today it’s the IDF,
tomorrow it will be against the law to criticize the police or the government,”
The legislation passed with 44 in favor and 16 opposed.