Israel’s dissenters can no longer speak in Israel’s schools

Israeli law bans former soldiers and critics of the occupation from speaking in schools

Yumna Patel on July 18, 2018

Breaking the Silence gives a lecture in a school. (Photo: Breaking the Silence) 

Israel can now ban critics of the occupation from giving presentations to school children, according to a law passed Monday night by Israel’s parliament, the Knesset. Known as the“Breaking the Silence” law, the bill passed with a majority of 43 votes in favor and 24 against.

The bill was submitted by the right-wing Education Minister Naftali Bennett’s party and states individuals and groups that seek to “inflict harm upon IDF soldiers” are barred from entering educational institutions “when this activity is of a nature that undermines state education goals, or is such that endeavors to inflict harm upon IDF soldiers who are a consensus in Israeli society.”

The legislation specifically targets the the left-wing Israeli group Breaking the Silence (the organization’s name was in the official working title of the bill) which collects and publishes testimony from former Israeli army soldiers about the military’s human rights abuses against Palestinians in the occupied West Bank and the Gaza Strip.

The group regularly conducts tours inside the West Bank city of Hebron as well as lectures in Israeli schools.

One of the law’s clauses expands the reach to prohibit persons or groups who “initiate legal proceedings outside Israel against IDF soldiers for an action carried out in the course of their military duty.”

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