Liberman’s Law: Jail Time for Leftists Who Harass Soldiers

Defense Minister Avigdor Liberman. (Yonatan Sindel/Flash90)

After the broadcast of footage showing leftist activists harassing IDF soldiers at the Gaza border fence, Defense Minister Avigdor Liberman and his Yisrael Beytenu faction plan to advance legislation that would make it a crime to film IDF soldiers who are on active duty without a permit. According to the legislation, anyone who takes such footage and distributes it with the intent of harming the reputation, image or name of a specific soldier, the IDF or the State of Israel would be subject to a five-year jail term. If the footage was taken with the intent of harming the security of Israel, the penalty would be 10 years in prison.

Keshet News reported that Liberman has been considering a law like this for several months, but after the footage showing leftists actively harassing soldiers was released earlier this week, he has decided to put the legislation on a fast track. The law will be presented in the Knesset in the coming days by Yisrael Beytenu MK Robert Ilatuv.

The footage, broadcast on Channel 20, showed Israeli leftists harassing soldiers stationed at the Gaza border fence, with one protester filming soldiers and calling them “terrorists” and “murderers. How does it feel to be part of a terror army that murders innocent civilians? How many people did you kill today? Did you kill them like you did on Friday?” the leftist activist said, referring to the 10 Hamas terrorists who were killed in mass rioting over the weekend.

Soldiers are seen mostly ignoring the activist, with one soldier repeatedly asking her to leave, and brandishing orders declaring the area a closed military zone. In response, the activist continued to call the soldier a terrorist, and ignored demands to leave. One soldier is seen responding, saying, “You think I am a terrorist?” and the activist responded by saying that the soldier was “brainwashed to be part of a terrorist army that kills civilians.”

Commenting on the footage, Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu said that “these soldiers are defending Israel from attacks and terror, and the leftists call them terrorists. They don’t call Hamas terrorists, even though Hamas says clearly that it wants to destroy Israel – including the leftist protesters themselves.”

In a statement, Yisrael Beytenu said that the legislation was necessary. Leftist groups B’Tselem, Machsom Watch, Breaking the Silence and others “spend all day recording the activities of soldiers. They interfere with soldiers and cause them and Israel to be delegitimized around the world.”

In response, Breaking the Silence said that Liberman was “the last person to talk about doing damage to soldiers. We are witnesses who will be here long after you leave office. You will not succeed in making us disappear.”