Hebrew media sources have revealed the extent of support in Israel’s parliament, the Knesset, for a law which would ban the commemoration of the Palestinian Nakba (Catastrophe) in Israeli universities and educational institutions. Yedioth Ahronoth reported that the Chairman of the Knesset Education Committee, Alex Miller, is behind the introduction of the draft bill.
The newspaper said that Miller’s proposal has been made following the decision of Tel Aviv University to allow a group of Arab students to organise an event to mark the Nakba anniversary. The bill, if it becomes law, would authorise the Minister of Education, who heads the Higher Education Council, to deny or revoke funds from universities where such events are held, even if the institution itself didn’t initiate or fund the programme.
The newspaper noted that Miller, a prominent member of the Yisrael Beitenau” (“Israel is our home”) Party, seeks to complete the implementation of a law enacted last year which allows the withholding of government funds from organisations that hold or allow Nakba events to take place. Such events are categorised as any which “violate the principles of the state and anti-state events, such as those which refuse to consider Israel as a Jewish state or the country of the Jewish people”.
In a related move, the newspaper drew attention to the fact that Israel’s Minister of Education, Gideon Sa’ar, has examined the legality of withholding funds from Tel Aviv University due to the Nakba event which took place on its campus.