Protesting against the so-called Breaking the Silence Law, which passed this week with a majority of 43 to 23, ten students from all over the country came to the Knesset Tuesday and participated in a Breaking the Silence lecture.
The organization, which is now banned from schools under the new law, held the lecture in the Meretz Party's room.
The law, which was sponsored by Education Minister Naftali Bennett and MK Shuli Mualem-Refaeli from the religious-nationalist Bayit Yehudi party, bars activists who slander Israel and the IDF in international forums from entering school premises. The law also applies to anyone who acts abroad in support of institutions that delegitimize Israel.
The legislation has been dubbed the "Breaking the Silence" law, in reference to the left-wing Israeli group of that name which collects and publishes testimony from IDF veterans about the military's alleged misconduct against Palestinians in the West Bank and during conflicts with terrorists in Gaza.
Its testimonies are often anonymous and major claims of instances of abuse have been been refuted in the past by other eyewitnesses.
Itai Glazer, a high school student from Ramat Gan (a city bordering Tel Aviv), asserted that Bennett undervalues Israeli students. "I heard about this law when it passed its first reading— and even then it bothered me… I feel that this law disparages students and doesn’t give the youth a chance to decide for themselves," he said.
"Bennett thinks he can make decisions for us, he underestimates youth," he added. "If there are people who believe that these lectures can influence us—let us hear them and decide for ourselves. In general, the schools do not allow political lectures, and in my opinion this undermines our ability to develop independent thought."
Rena Miriam Simanovski, a 10th grader from Ramla High School, opined it was "appalling that the government and the Education Ministry are trying to silence the voices of all those that oppose them. Everyone deserves to hear all sides. If you give a lecture on Jewish values in schools, why not let students attend a lecture by Breaking the Silence?"
Ido Even-Paz, the Breaking the Silence activist who gave the lecture to the students, encouraged students to fight and make their voices heard. "The government is going wild in the territories, the situation there is getting much worse and the pressure on the Palestinians is increasing."
"The Breaking the Silence Law is only the harbinger of the actions being taken to silence opposing voices," adds Even-Paz.
"It used to be easier, but similar laws that will pass in the future will only raise the barrier against anyone who dares to resist. Now it requires us to be brave and fight," he concluded.
In the past year, the organization's representatives met with about 200 high school students all over the country.
Breaking the Silence CEO Avner Gvaryahu told Ynet,"For a long time, Bennett has been trying to silence Breaking the Silence and not that effectively. This law is just another step, so we asked to deliver a lecture to students in the Knesset."
"The students asked questions about our activities and the reality in the territories, these are basic issues of citizenship and democracy. The organization does not advocate insubordination, but rather encourages knowledge and transparency, and in my opinion it is dangerous to turn the classroom into a sterile environment."
The Breaking the Silence organization said in response to the legislation, "Bennett can try to fight students and silence soldiers, but it just proves that the more people shut us up, the more people who want to know what's going on in the territories will rise."