Ministers Ditch Shas Bill on Internet Censorship

Panel decides to cease discussion on bill that would censor sites featuring porn, violence, and gambling.

The Ministerial Committee for Legislation decided Sunday to postpone discussion on a bill proposed by Shas that would censor the Internet in Israel, blocking Web sites featuring pornography, violence and gambling.

The bill was put forward by Shas MK Amnon Cohen during the tenure of Israel's last government. As such, the committee's decision Sunday means that a new bill would need to be submitted for Internet censorship to be implemented in Israel.

Only Religious Services Minister Yaakov Margi (Shas) supported bringing the bill forward for discussion in the current Knesset.

Seven other ministers opposed the move, including: Moshe Kahlon, communications minister (Likud); Gideon Sa'ar, education minister (Likud); and Michael Eitan, Improvement of Government Services Minister (Likud).

Explaining his opposition, Eitan said: "The correct way to deal with the safety of surfing the Internet is the democratic way, and not the way of the Revolutionary Guard, as was customary during the previous [government's] term."

The minister was referring to Iran's elite military force, which operates outside the Islamic Republic's conventional army with its own air, naval and land wings.

"The government has proved in its decision that it is a progressive government, attentive to the values of democracy and freedom of expression - as opposed to the Kadima government that supported a bill whose origin is in countries of darkness."