Knesset speaker bans screening of left-wing film

Edelstein says left-wing MKs cannot screen documentary or hang signs as backlash over conference grows.

Tzvi Lev ,

Knesset spokesman

Knesset Speaker Yuli Edelstein (Likud) banned the scheduled screening of a documentary featuring Palestinian Arab and Israeli children at a controversial conference that is set to take place on Monday at the Knesset.

According to Edelstein, conference organizers had not requested permission to hold such an event and are therefore not allowed to screen films or hang up signs.

The conference, titled "Children of Occupation", is being organized by far-left MKs Dov Khenin, Ksenia Svetlova, and Arab-Israeli faction head Ayman Odeh. According to a report in Yediot Aharonot, the conference will discuss "various aspects of the lives of children under Israeli occupation: poverty, restrictions on movement, lack of electricity, water and education, as well as child arrests, discriminatory laws that hinder family unification and the effects of the blockade on the Gaza Strip."

Edelstein had sharply criticized conference organizers on Sunday for bypassing customary procedure. "Let me be clear - MKs from all parties who want to hold an event must ask permission from the Knesset administration," the statement said.

"Instead, they organize mass events in the guise of 'meetings' as if they're hosting innocent visitors," Edelstein added. "I'd expect those responsible to deal with the plight of our children first."

Yesh Atid leader Yair Lapid also came out against the event after hearing that left-wing NGO's Breaking the Silence and B'selem were invited. and criticized Zionist Union for participating.

"The Zionist Union has lost it," Lapid said. "They joined a coalition and invited Breaking the Silence, B'Tselem, and all the BDS supporters to the Knesset to participate in 'Children under Occupation'," adding that these days such a conference is a "gift to Israel's enemies".