New Proposed Law in Israel Will Imprison People Filming Israeli Soldiers
Israel recently proposed a law to make it a criminal offense to record videos of Israeli soldiers. Last Sunday the bill was approved by Israel’s Ministerial Committee for Legislation, but they demanded significant changes before the bill moves forward. Haaretz reported that Parliament is expected to pass the bill once the changes have been made.
The Israeli Attorney General, Avichai Mendelblit, has warned that the bill is problematic from a constitutional standpoint and may be tough to enact. The bill was sponsored by MK Robert Ilatov. In Haaretz’s report, they claimed a senior Israeli official told them that Ilatov had reached an agreement with the Committee “whereby the proposed law will call for a ban on interfering with Israel Defense Forces soldiers in the line of duty, but there will not be a total prohibition on filming and documenting such activities.”
Three To Ten Years For Filming Soldiers
If the new law goes through, punishment for filming soldiers could bring anywhere from three to ten years in jail. While the bill has not been drafted in its final form yet, reportedly coalition MK’s say the bill would bring up to a three-year prison term for anyone hindering soldiers from performing their duties.
The current form of the bill approved by the Ministerial Committee for Legislation calls for a five-year prison term for anyone filming or distributing videos on social media that documents encounters between Israeli soldiers and Palestinians, with the intent to “break the spirit of Israeli soldiers and inhabitants.” Anyone found guilty of such offenses but with an intent to harm national security could face up to ten years in jail.
Support For Law Points to Use of Video to “Bait” IDF Soldiers
Proponents of the bill argue that for decades, anti-Israeli and pro-Palestinian groups such as B’Tselem, the women of Machsom Watch, Breaking the Silence and other BDS groups have been filming and distributing offensive videos, still pictures and audio recordings detrimental to the Israel Defense Forces.
“In many instances, these organizations spend entire days near IDF soldiers waiting with baited breath for some action they can document in a biased way in order to slander the IDF,” an addendum to the bill stated. “Such documentation generally interferes with ongoing and operational IDF duties, sometimes accompanied by accusations and insults being hurled in their faces.”
Defense Minister Lieberman said he is in support of the bill, adding that the nation must put an end to people and groups who are bent on discrediting, humiliating and harming Israeli soldiers and in extension the Israeli nation.