The “Breaking the Silence” Law

State Education Law (Prevention of Activity in an Educational Institution of External Bodies Acting Against the IDF or the Goals of Education) – The “Breaking the Silence” Law

1. The law was approved by the Knesset on Monday 16th July 2018. The law was enacted in order to prevent the entry of “Breaking the Silence” NGO into schools, but in practice it is liable to prevent the entry of any person or organization whose agenda the Minister of Education disapproves.

2. The Minister of Education was empowered to prescribe rules to prevent the entry of an organization whose activity contradicts in a severe and significant manner the goals of education (this is an addition of the Ministry of Justice). The objectives of education include 12 general and declarative clauses (which took years to formulate because it was done taking into account a broad social consensus). Henceforth, the minister has the legal right to declare any agenda that he disapproves to contradict the above clauses.

3. Additionally, a new objective that concerns education for meaningful service or national service has now been added. Given that the political right sees “Breaking the Silence” as encouraging refusal to serve in the army, one can expect the minister to assert that their activity inter alia contradicts this clause. Moreover, it was any activity toward prosecution of soldiers abroad as well as activities abroad that promote political proceedings against Israel would be considered grounds for disqualification of an organization.

4. It is expected that the minister will now set (mainly procedural) rules for how discussion and disqualification of bodies will be carried out. At the beginning of the upcoming school year, right-wing organizations, parents and students are expected to request that the minister disqualify an organization or person from appearing at school. Then the committee of Minister of Education Naftali Bennet will discuss and begin to produce a list of disqualified organizations and agendas.

5. The wording includes all the amendments of the new second clause in the Law of Breaking the Silence. This paragraph below adds an additional objective to the other objectives for education (education toward army service etc.)

“The Minister shall prescribe rules for the prevention of an activity in an educational institution of an individual or a body that is not part of the education system (in this subsection – an external party), whose activity contradicts in a significant and serious manner the objectives of state education as elaborated in subsection (a), as well as the rules for preventing in an educational institution an external party that proactively takes legal or political actions outside of Israel against soldiers of the Israel Defense Forces for an action carried out against the State of Israel or in the course of their duties.”

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Categories: Anti-Democratic Initiatives, Democracy and Civil Liberties, Freedom of Expression


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