Knesset passes law banning groups critical of the Israeli military from schools

Israeli soldiers at a ceremony marking Israel’s Memorial Day at the Kiryat Shaul Military cemetery in Tel Aviv, May 1, 2017. (Gili Yaari/Flash90)

Israeli soldiers at a ceremony marking Israel’s Memorial Day at the Kiryat Shaul Military cemetery in Tel Aviv, May 1, 2017. (Gili Yaari/Flash90)

JERUSALEM (JTA) – The Knesset passed legislation that would ban organizations critical of the Israeli military from entering schools.

The law, which appears aimed at the Breaking the Silence NGO, passed early Tuesday morning on second and third reading by a vote of 43 to 24.

Breaking the Silence brings former Israeli soldiers to schools and other venues inside and outside of Israel to talk about their personal experiences involving alleged abuses of Palestinian civilians in the West Bank and Jerusalem.

The legislation was sponsored by Education Minister Naftali Bennett, head of the right wing Jewish Home Party, and party member Shuli Moalem-Refaeli.

“Organizations that undermine Israel’s legitimacy and slander IDF soldiers will no longer be able to gain access to Israeli students,” Bennett said in a statement. “Breaking the Silence long ago crossed the boundaries of legitimate discourse when they started libelling Israel in the international arena. As long as they operate against Israel and the IDF abroad, I will not let them in the education system.”

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