The Israeli parliament has passed a bill that allows Israeli citizens to use their national ID cards to access social media services like Facebook and Twitter, and gives them the right to register their political opinions and post images and videos on them.
The bill, which was passed by the Knesset’s Joint Committee on Legislation on Thursday, is aimed at protecting Israelis from online harassment, including violent or cyber-bullying, and at reducing the number of complaints against people for posting hateful or abusive content.
The legislation has the backing of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s right-wing Likud party, which has vowed to use the law to punish anyone who posts derogatory or threatening comments about Israel.
Netanyahu is known to have strong opinions about the internet and Facebook.
A survey last year found that nearly half of the country’s citizens said they have a Facebook account, compared with just 13% of the general population.
Netanyahus are not the only people to use Facebook to target other Israelis.
Israeli Arabs have also used the social network to target Israelis on social media.
A number of Arab and Jewish Israelis have been subjected to online attacks, including on Facebook and on YouTube.
In the past, Facebook has faced criticism from Israeli civil society groups who say the company has failed to take enough action to protect Israeli users from hate speech.
Facebook said last month it will continue to take steps to block offensive content from the platform, including removing content deemed to be offensive or hateful.