Lapid Slams Kibbutz Movement for Inviting Breaking the Silence to Address Youth

Kibbutz Movement says speakers at event in questions also included IDF officers, group that seeks to promote image of soldiers abroad.

Israeli reservist Ido Even Paz, center, guiding visitors at the "Breaking the Silence" exhibition at the Kulturhaus Helferei in Zurich, June 8, 2015.
Reuters

Yesh Atid Party Chairman Yair Lapid attacked the Kibbutz Movement on Saturday for inviting Breaking the Silence, an Israeli army veterans group that collects and publishes soldiers' anonymous testimonies, to address youth in one of its events.

"Here's another proof – for anyone who needed one – that there are some in the Israeli left who have completely lost it," Lapid wrote on his Facebook page.

Lapid continued by describing the members of Breaking the Silence as people who "go around the world with foreign sponsorship to badmouth the State of Israel using anonymous testimonies."

The Kibbutz Movement responded to Lapid's statements on their Facebook page, saying they are "sorry to see how a politician in Israel is making cynical use of partial, inexact information that has been taken out of context without verifying it."

The Movement posted a list of other speakers invited to the event, which included "IDF officers who discussed significant service," and an army colonel who "who discussed the importance of volunteering for officer's training."

The Movement added that during the discussion with Breaking the Silence, a parallel discussion took place with the #My_Truth movement, which seeks to promote the image of Israeli soldiers abroad, according to their mission statement.

The Movement added that they will not accept being targeted by political slander, "since, as a Zionist movement, we believe it's the duty of every citizen to contribute significant and beneficial service."

"Teens from the kibbutz have always been at the forefront of the IDF and have one of the highest percentages in the state in officer's training." 

Breaking the Silence recently released a report containing testimonies of 60 IDF soldiers and officers who fought during Operation Protective Edge last July and August. The report, which contains testimonies that alleged that Israeli soldiers may have committed war crimes, has put the group in the spotlight. Several politicians on the center and on the right to denounced the group in wake of the report.

The Secretary General of the Labor Party, MK Hilik Bar, also responded to Lapid's Facebook post, saying he was "the last person to teach the Kibbutz movement, its sons and daughters, what Zionism is and what love for the country is."

Bar also criticized MK Haim Yellin (Yesh Atid), who he termed as the "representative of the Kibbutz movement" in Lapid's party, saying he should have told his party leader to "just shut up."