Amendment blocking anti-occupation IDF vets group from school visits gains lawmakers’ backing


JERUSALEM (JTA) — Israel’s education minister has proposed legislation that would prevent a controversial organization of Israeli army veterans  from entering Israelis schools.

Naftali Bennett, also the head of the pro-settler Jewish Home party, proposed an amendment this week to the State Education Law that would prevent speakers at 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 legislation aimed at the anti-occupation group Breaking the Silence has the backing of Yair Lapid, chairman of the centrist Yesh Atid party, which is not in the governing coalition.

With support from the opposition as well as the coalition, the amendment is expected to pass the Ministerial Committee on Legislation in the next two weeks, Haaretz reported.

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.

Lapid said 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.

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