The Knesset plenum on Monday night approved in its first reading a proposed amendment to the State Education Law, Amendment No. 17: Prevention of Activity in an Educational Institution of External Elements Acting Against the Purposes of Education and Against the Israel Defense Forces, 5778 – 2018, authored by MK Shuli Mualem-Rafaeli (Habayit Hayehudi). The vote was 35 for, 23 against, and the bill was submitted for hearings and debates to the Education Committee.
The amendment proposes to add to the goals of state education the education for a meaningful service in the Israel Defense Forces or national service.
It further proposes that the Minister of Education shall prescribe rules for the prevention of any activity in an educational institution by a person or an external entity whose activity is in serious and significant contradiction to the goals of the state education system, or of an external party acting proactively to take legal proceedings outside Israel against soldiers of the Israel Defense Forces for an action carried out in the course of their military service.
MK Mualem Refaeli said during the podium debate: “Breaking the Silence and all the organizations like them, their goal is not to reform but to undermine the existence of the State of Israel, to harm IDF soldiers and officers. It is permissible to criticize the army, but anyone who undermines the existence of the State of Israel and libels IDF soldiers to the point where they are persecuted in international courts cannot claim innocence. The misguided attempt to attribute to IDF soldiers the desire to murder children has no place in our schools.”
Leftwing MKs from Meretz and the Zionist Camp argued that Breaking the Silence is dedicated to allowing IDF veterans to share with the public their experiences during their military service. However, over the past few years it has been proven that, armed with funding from governments and charities abroad, BtS has ventured into an anti-IDF campaign in foreign arenas, instead of dedicating its work to a dialogue between veterans and the Israeli public.