ISRAEL AT WAR - DAY 149

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Minister blasts AG for opposing his version of regulations to close Al Jazeera in Israel

Jeremy Sharon is The Times of Israel’s legal affairs and settlements reporter

Illustrative: Communications Minister Shlomo Karhi heads into a cabinet meeting in the Prime Minister's Office in Jerusalem, September 10, 2023. (Chaim Goldberg/Flash90)
Illustrative: Communications Minister Shlomo Karhi heads into a cabinet meeting in the Prime Minister's Office in Jerusalem, September 10, 2023. (Chaim Goldberg/Flash90)

Communications Minister Shlomo Karhi claims that Attorney General Gali Baharav-Miara opposes his emergency regulations, which are designed to shut down the operations of the Al Jazeera news station in Israel.

The hard-right minister’s regulations, which have undergone several revisions, would give the communications minister the authority to instruct the Cable and Satellite Broadcasting Council to revoke a foreign media’s broadcast license; shut down its offices; and seize its equipment, if he believed that the outlet’s broadcasts were harming state security.

Such a decision would need the approval of the security cabinet.

Karhi claims that his regulations and shutting Al Jazeera down are supported by “all the security services,” and accuses Baharav-Miara of having a “warped worldview,” in a fierce attack against her on X.

“After massive efforts for a process that is clear to any thinking person needs to be carried out, what does Barahav-Miara say…? That there is a constitutional obstacle to passing the regulations that would close Al Jazeera,” writes Karhi.

The security cabinet is currently deliberating the regulations, and the communications minister calls on the body to approve them, despite the attorney general’s opposition.

The Kan public broadcaster reports that Baharav-Miara’s main objections are that, according to the current regulations, the authority would lie with the communications minister instead of with the defense minister, and the orders against a foreign media outlet would not need the approval of a district court.

The Attorney General’s Office, in response, describes Karhi’s characterization of her position as “false and misleading,” noting that she only received the legal positions of the different branches of the security services on the issue yesterday.

“The attorney general will present to the cabinet a version of the emergency regulations which empowers the defense minister to close the offices of — and prevent broadcasts in Israel of — foreign media outlets which harm state security,” says her office in a statement to the press.

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