Israel’s Cabinet approves immediate closure of Al Jazeera in Israel

The Knesset voted in April to give the prime minister authority to shut down the Qatari broadcaster's local operations.


2AMMRCC The newsroom of Al Jazeera English TV channel, Doha, Qatar

The Israeli Cabinet voted unanimously on Sunday to approve a Knesset bill from last month that will bring about the closure of Al Jazeera’s bureau in the country.

"The government headed by me unanimously decided: The incitement channel Al Jazeera will be closed in Israel," wrote Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on X, while thanking Communications Minister Shlomo Karhi.

Karhi added, "Our orders will go into effect immediately. Too much time has passed and too many unnecessary legal hurdles for us to finally be able to stop Al Jazeera's oiled incitement machine that harms the security of the country."

Economy Minister Nir Barkat said after the vote, "Al Jazeera is the biggest engine of antisemitism in the world that Qatar operates against the State of Israel and the Jewish people.

"On the eve of Holocaust Remembrance Day, the government sends a strong message against the propaganda arm of the terrorist state of Qatar. We will not allow Israel's enemies to broadcast antisemitic propaganda and blood plots from our territory," Barkat said.

Energy Minister Eli Cohen said, "The decision to close the incitement channel Al Jazeera is an important step in the fight against bias and lies.We will not allow Hamas supporters to take advantage of Israeli democracy and freedom of the press to encourage terrorism."

Harms the state’s security

The Knesset voted 71-10 in April for the bill that gives the prime minister authority to shut down the anti-Israel broadcaster's local operations, which Jerusalem has accused of aiding the enemy in its war against the Hamas terrorist group in Gaza.

The legislation states that the communications minister may act against a foreign channel that harms the state’s security, with the consent of the prime minister and the approval of the Cabinet or the government. The prime minister and Cabinet can approve the measure after security officials prove that the channel poses an actual security risk.

The measures enable authorities to order television providers to stop broadcasting the outlet; close its offices in Israel; seize its equipment; shut down its website; and revoke press credentials for staff.

IDF Chief of Staff Lt. Gen. Herzi Halevi, Defense Minister Yoav Gallant and the National Security Council supported closing the channel.

“There will be no freedom of speech for Hamas mouthpieces in Israel. Al Jazeera will be closed in the coming days,” Karhi vowed following the Knesset vote.

Attorney General Gali Baharav-Miara had initially objected to the draft legislation, arguing that it would give the communications minister draconian powers over Israeli media networks as well. A compromise version of the proposed regulations was reached leading to her giving the green light to the government vote at Sunday’s weekly Cabinet meeting.

Al Jazeera was founded with the financial backing of the Qatari royal family and has served for decades as a mouthpiece for the country’s leaders, which provides asylum for the leaders of Hamas, a group designated as a terrorist organization by the United States, Canada, European Union, Israel and other nations.

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