Bennett proposes law to block ‘Breaking the Silence’ from school visits

Marcy Oster

JERUSALEM (JTA) — Israeli Education Minister Naftali Bennett proposed legislation that would prevent the left-wing group Breaking the Silence from entering Israelis schools.

Bennett, the head of the right wing Jewish Home Party, proposed an amendment to the State Education Law that would prevent speakers from a school if “there is concern that their activity could lead to Israeli soldiers’ persecution in international forums and foreign countries for actions carried out as part of their military duty.”

The amendment has the support of Yair Lapid, chairman of the centrist Yesh Atid party.

Breaking the Silence has often come under fire from the political right and center for collecting former soldiers’ testimonies, some published anonymously, that accuse the Israeli military of excessive force against Palestinians.

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Lapid said on Tuesday that he supports the legislation because he is concerned that the school talks will lower the motivation of students to serve in the Israel Defense Forces. “These organizations put soldiers at risk of being made to stand trial, and they hurt Israel’s international standing by spreading crude lies. This has to be stopped,” Lapid said, according to Haaretz.

The legislation has support in the governing coalition and from the opposition and is expected to pass the Ministerial Committee on Legislation in the next two weeks, Haaretz reported.

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