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Knesset approves 'Breaking the Silence' law

July 17, 2018 3:12 P.M. (Updated: July 23, 2018 11:29 A.M.)
BETHLEHEM (Ma'an) -- The Israeli Knesset approved on Monday a second and third reading of the "Breaking the Silence" law, which outlaws educational organizations that oppose Israeli soldiers and the Israeli state education from entering schools and meeting with students.

The law was proposed by Israeli Minister of Education, Naftail Bennett, and Knesset Member, Shuli Mualem-Refaeli for the Jewish home party.

Forty-three Knesset members voted in favor of "Breaking the Silence" while 24 voted against it.

The approval of the law will grant authority to Bennett to ban educational organizations that oppose Israeli soldiers and the goals of Israeli state education from entering school premises and meeting with students.

Bennett will be able to determine the rules that will prevent entry for educational organizations.

The law was aimed at mainly human rights organizations that criticize and stand against the Israeli occupation and the practices of Israeli soldiers towards the Palestinian people, such as the very known “Breaking the Silence” organization. Thus the chosen title of the law.

According to the organization's website, it is "a nonprofit organization made up of veteran combatants who have served in the Israeli military since the start of the Second Intifada and have taken it upon themselves to expose the public to the reality of everyday life in the occupied territories. Our work aims to bring an end to the occupation."

In response to the approval, spokesperson of Breaking the Silence called the bill "Bennett’s occupation silencing law."

The spokesperson added that "the attempt to close the mouths of Breaking the Silence will not prevent students from finding out about the occupation."

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