Netanyahu calls for Knesset to pass ‘Al Jazeera law’ today, allowing closure of foreign news networks

Sam Sokol is the Times of Israel's political correspondent. He was previously a reporter for the Jerusalem Post, Jewish Telegraphic Agency and Haaretz. He is the author of "Putin’s Hybrid War and the Jews"

Illustrative: An employee of Al Jazeera walks past the channel's logo at its headquarters in Doha, Qatar, in 2006. (AP/ Kamran Jebreili, File)
Illustrative: An employee of Al Jazeera walks past the channel's logo at its headquarters in Doha, Qatar, in 2006. (AP/ Kamran Jebreili, File)

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu calls for the Knesset to pass the so-called Al Jazeera law this evening, giving his government the power to close down foreign news networks.

In a statement, Netanyahu’s Likud party says that the prime minister spoke with coalition whip Ofir Katz to ask him to ensure the bill’s passage through its second and third readings today.

Netanyahu promised to “immediately act to close Al Jazeera” following the law’s passage.

If passed, the bill will give the prime minister and the communications minister the authority to order the closure of foreign networks operating in Israel and confiscate their equipment if it is believed that they pose “an actual harm to the state’s security.”

The legislation passed a first reading in the Knesset plenum in February and was approved for its second and third readings following an extended debate in the Knesset National Security Committee.

Netanyahu is currently in the hospital, having undergone hernia surgery last night.

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