Education Minister Naftali Bennett (Habayit Hayehudi) is pushing, along with MKs Shuli Mualem and Bezalel Smotrich, as well as Yesh Atid Chairman Yair Lapid, and MKs Merav Ben Ari (Kulanu), Oded Forer (Yisrael Beiteinu), and Yoav Kisch (Likud) a bill barring groups that harm the IDF, such as Breaking the Silence, from appearing in Israeli schools. It is estimated the bill would be approved by the ministerial legislative committee in the coming weeks.
“The bill seeks to give the minister of education, as chief of the educational system who is responsible for the students in Israel, the power to ban individuals or organizations that are not part of the education system from conducting activities in an educational institution when said activities undermine educational goals, or harm IDF soldiers who are part of the consensus in Israeli society,” the bill explains.
“Organizations which are wandering abroad and harming IDF soldiers will not enter our schools,” Minister Bennett stated.
An earlier attempt on the part of the education minister to ban BtS from entering Israeli schools was mired in legal difficulties for close to a year, until finally, two weeks ago, the ministry’s attorneys were able to decide on an acceptable language and a memorandum was sent out to school principals across the land – who read it and went right ahead, inviting those groups to their schools. Which is why Bennett decided to make it outright illegal to permit those groups to teach Israeli students about the “war crimes” they’d be ordered to commit as soon as they turn 18 and enlist.
Lapid said about the law that “Israel’s school system must not permit entry of organizations that slander IDF officers and soldiers, calling them criminals and encouraging insubordination. Consider what happens to a student who hears these stories just before joining the Army. What does it do to his motivation and his willingness to contribute.”
BtS issued a statement saying, “Bennett is free to continue his efforts to turn his education system into an occupation education system, crushing every democratic value on the altar of the settlement enterprise – it failed in the past and it will fail this time, too. Those who harm IDF soldiers are the ones who have turned the IDF from being Israel Defense Forces into an army protecting the illegal outposts. To the indignation of Bennett and his ‘brother’ Lapid – we will continue to fight the Bennett and Smotrich occupation of everywhere, even in the education system.”
Well, not if they’re not allowed into the building – although the line in proverbs about how “stolen water is sweet” should also be considered.
Meretz Chair MK Zehava Galon accused Bennett and Lapid of McCarthyism, although, to be fair, neither politician has accused the Communists of conspiring to overtake the Israeli government, they only wish to keep them–or, rather, their heirs–from appearing in schools. Galon also argued that BtS are patriots. Yes, but of which country?David Israel