Israeli Government Passes Law to Push Out Al Jazeera, Other Foreign News Operations

Israel’s Knesset passed a law on Monday, paving the way to shut down local operations of Qatar-based news network Al Jazeera. The legislation allows a temporary ban of foreign news operations that the government deems a threat to national security.

“Al Jazeera will no longer be broadcast from Israel,” Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu wrote in a post on social media after the law was passed, translated from Hebrew. “I intend to act immediately in accordance with the new law to stop the channel’s activity.”

Netanyahu argued that the network “harmed Israel’s security, actively participated in the Oct. 7 massacre and incited against IDF soldiers.”

Netanyahu also alleged that the news organization demonstrates an anti-Israel bias, which he considers to be a danger to the security of the country.

The law passed in the Knesset 71-10, granting the prime minister and the communications minister the authority to order the closure of foreign networks operating in Israel and confiscate equipment if they are considered a danger to the “state’s security.”

Meanwhile, the Joe Biden administration expressed concern over the passage of the law on Monday.

“We’ve seen the reports and certainly I’m going to refer to Israel for what they may or may not be considering. But if it is true, a move like this is concerning. We believe in the freedom of the press. It is critical. It is critically important,” White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre said.

Communications Minister Shlomo Karhi led the efforts to pass the law. Karhi claimed that the news network serves as a mouthpiece for Hamas.

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