Discussion in Knesset: Anchoring Protection of Journalists in Law

On 16 July 2023, the Knesset Economic Committee held a debate initiated by MK Efrat Reitan (Labor) and MK Idan Roll (Yesh Atid) on protecting journalists covering demonstrations, in the wake of recurrent violent attacks on journalists by police and civilians. Taking part in the session were Zulat’s Executive Director Einat Ovadia and steering committee member Daniel Ben Simon, who presented Zulat’s proposal to anchor the protection of journalists in law, which MK Roll had submitted to the plenum and was struck down by the coalition.

Einat Ovadia: “The discussion should be more about the principle than about attacks at one demonstration or another, given that severe and unusual assaults on journalists doing their job have been with us since 2015. It is not just about the physical attack on journalists, who certainly are the ones who get hurt, but about the attack on freedom of expression. We will continue to see attacks on journalists unless instead of discussing what happened in this or that demonstration or whether journalists should be ordered to wear special vests, freedom of expression, with freedom of the press at its core, is anchored in legislation. Given that they are attacked because of their work, I also have reservations about the vest proposal as a distinctive vest would further expose journalists to attacks. The protection of journalists must be anchored in legislation. A bill we submitted to the Knesset two weeks ago was voted down. The current situation is such that our basic rights are protected haphazardly, some by Supreme Court rulings and others by this or that legislation, whereas the approach should be more comprehensive and thorough.”

Daniel Ben Simon: “We are in for a bad period, for a rift within the public. Journalists play an exceptional importance when a society is undergoing rupture. Somebody will have to own up for what happened here. This was the case in the United States after the Vietnam war and in France after it pulled out of Algeria.”

(Translation from Hebrew: Shoshana Michkin)

Watch (Hebrew, no subtitles):


>> Read the full position paper: Journalists Under Attack: Promoting Legislation on the Protection of Media Professionals


Dr. Maha Sabbah Karkabi


Senior Lecturer in the Department of Sociology and Anthropology, Ben-Gurion University of the Negev. She holds a Ph.D. in Sociology from Tel Aviv University (2015), a postdoctoral fellowship at the Center for Gender Studies, SOAS, University of London (2015-2016), a postdoctoral fellowship in the Department of Sociology at Tel Aviv University (2016-2017), and a postdoctoral fellowship Ph.D. at the Humphrey Institute for Social Research, Ben-Gurion University of the Negev (2018-2020).
Dr. Maha Karbahi’s areas of interest focus on the connection between social change, family behavior, and gender inequality in societies in the process of change and specifically in Palestinian Arab society in Israel. Her research draws attention to the study of family life and employment, using a combined “ethnic lens” and “gender lens” and paying attention to the perspective of Palestinian Arab women, a group characterized by intersections between multiple marginal locations, which over the years has remained hidden from the research eye. Dr. Karkabi-Sabah’s research is published in professional journals and chapters in scientific books that are considered pioneers in family research, work, and gender equality.


Prof. Frances Raday

Professor Emeritus in the Lieberman Chair in Labor Law, in the Faculty of Law at the Hebrew University and serves as a full professor in the College of Management’s academic track, where she also serves as chair of the graduate program and as honorary president of the Concord Center for International Law Absorption. Radai was a member of a working group of the UN Human Rights Council on discrimination against women. In addition, she is a prominent and feminist human rights activist.


Dr. Rawia Aburabia 

Faculty member of Sapir Academic College’s School of Law, received her PhD from the Hebrew University of Jerusalem. Her research deals with the interface between law, gender, minorities, and human rights. Has published in leading journals on the subject of the matrimonial laws pertaining to Muslim women in Israel. Her book Under the Law, Outside Justice: Polygamy, Gendered Citizenship, and Colonialism in Israeli Law is expected to be published as part of the Gender Series of Kibbutz Meuhad Publishing House.

Dr. Aburabia has extensive experience in international human rights and public law. She has worked as a jurist for the Association for Civil Right and has been invited as a specialist to address such international forums as the United Nations and the European Parliament on the subject of indigenous communities and minority rights. She has interned with Human Rights Watch in Washington DC, and has been a member of the executive board of Amnesty International. In 2018, she was selected by the magazine Globes as one of the 40 most promising young persons in Israel under the age of 40.



Ron Kessler

With over two decades of experience in the field of digital content, Ron has participated in numerous political and social campaigns. He helped run the digital activity of senior public officials, and worked in various NGOs. Ron is a fundamentally optimistic man, who believes that Israel can be changed and so can people. Lives in Tel Aviv.