MKs call for educational efforts to fight the phenomenon of online bullying and violence

In response to the suicide of Ariel Ronis, the manager at the Interior Ministry's Population Immigration and Border Crossing Authority, Knesset members are speaking out against online bullying.

By HAYAH GOLDLIST-EICHLER
May 25, 2015 20:29
1 minute read.
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Knesset members are speaking out against online bullying, violence and shaming in the wake of the suicide of Ariel Ronis, the manager at the Interior Ministry’s Population Immigration and Border Crossing Authority who was named in a Facebook post claiming he acted in a racist manner toward black Israelis at his branch.

“I will fight the phenomenon of bullying and violence in the virtual sphere and on social networks,” Zionist Union MK Revital Swid said on Monday. “This struggle is over the character of our society and the future generation.”

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Swid, who proposed an amendment to the 1965 Defamation (Prohibition) Law to include the Internet immediately upon being sworn into Knesset, also has established a caucus to deal with online bullying and violence, including promoting legislation and compulsory educational programming on the issue.

“There was nothing wrong with the post the woman published,” said Swid. “The problem is with us, society, who enthusiastically jump and fly on any ‘prey.’ The post had 6,000 shares, some of them derogatory, degrading and offensive.”

Yesh Atid MK Aliza Lavie submitted an urgent motion to the Speaker of the Knesset on Monday, to discuss the limits of online discourse, saying this “extreme case” demands discussion regarding the limits of Internet dialogue, and speaking of the power of social media to both create equal opportunities to be heard, as well as disastrous and tragic results from the unsupervised and unregulated sphere.

“The companies operating the social networks must develop social responsibility and work to find solutions and preventative measures,” Lavie said. “At the same time, we must educate, define, and explain the gravity and the responsibility that accompanies every click of the share button and conduct in-depth public discussions about the legitimate boundaries of the phenomenon.”

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