Israeli Knesset Passes Law Allowing Government to Ban Al Jazeera

The law allows any foreign news outlet to be banned

On Monday, the Israeli Knesset passed a law that gives the government the authority to ban any foreign news organization from operating inside Israel. The law was designed to target Al Jazeera, a Qatari state-funded media outlet.

The law passed by a slim margin in a vote of 71-70. After the vote, Israeli Communications Minister Shlomo Karhi vowed Al Jazeera will be shut down in the “coming days.”

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu vowed he would use the law right away. “The terrorist channel Al Jazeera will no longer broadcast from Israel. I intend to act immediately in accordance with the new law to stop the channel’s activities,” he wrote on X.

The law gives Shlomo and Netanyahu the power to order the temporary closure of foreign news networks and confiscation of their equipment if they are deemed to be “doing actual harm to state security.” The ban lasts for 45 days but can be renewed for further 45-day periods, according to The Times of Israel. The law itself is temporary and will expire on July 31 unless it’s renewed.

Israeli officials supportive of an Al Jazeera ban claimed the outlet is “inciting terrorism” due to its critical coverage of Israel’s brutal campaign in Gaza, which has killed and wounded Al Jazeera reporters and their families.

In response to the news, the White House said it was “concerned” about the law and claimed it believed in the “freedom of the press,” although the Biden administration is currently seeking the extradition of WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange to put him on trial for exposing US war crimes.

The US has also bought into the Israeli claim that Al Jazeera’s coverage of Gaza is “incitement.” Axios reported in October that Secretary of State Antony Blinken had asked the Qataris to “turn down the volume on Al Jazeera’s coverage because it is full of anti-Israel incitement.”

Author: Dave DeCamp

Dave DeCamp is the news editor of, follow him on Twitter @decampdave.