'A controversial bill that criminalizes filming IDF soldiers has been advanced by an Israeli government committee. The Israeli Attorney General, however, said it would not withstand a constitutional review in its current form.
The Ministerial Committee for Legislation, which determines the coalition government’s position on all pending bills, has green-lighted the legislation, which envisages penalties of up to five years in prison for anyone filming or publishing footage showing Israeli Defense Forces (IDF) with an aim to “harm [soldiers’] spirits.” It is to be debated in the parliament this week. However, Attorney General Avichai Mendelblit said he considers the bill to be “problematic” from a legal point of view, adding that he would not be able to defend it in court.
The legislation “presents serious legal problems,” Mendelblit said, in a letter he sent to the government committee, adding that it is unlikely to be upheld by the Supreme Court as it apparently contradicts Israel’s basic laws in its current form.
The legislation, which was proposed in April by right-wing politicians and backed by the Israeli Defense Minister Avigdor Lieberman, says the sentence could be doubled to as much as 10 years if a published footage “harms the state’s security.”"For many years Israel has witnessed a worrisome phenomenon in which IDF soldiers are being documented via video, stills photography and audio recordings by anti-Israeli and pro-Palestinian groups such as B’Tselem, the women of Machsom Watch, Breaking the Silence and various BDS groups,"explanatory notes to the legislation say, listing the groups that are apparently targeted by the bill.
Those behind the controversial legislation also accused the NGOs of spending “entire days” waiting for any action by the Israeli forces, which they could then “document in a biased way to slander the IDF.” “The time has come to end this practice of left-wing organizations and activists, backed by foreign entities, having a free hand to videotape IDF soldiers while they fulfill their duty,” Robert Ilatov, the head of the parliamentary right-wing faction that proposed the bill, told the Jerusalem Post.'
Read more: Nothing to see here! Israeli ministers approve ‘unconstitutional’ bill to ban filming of IDF actions