Deputy Foreign Minister Tzipi Hotovely has instructed Israel’s embassy in Bern, Switzerland to try and cancel an exhibition by the NGO group ‘Breaking the Silence,’ scheduled to open in June in Zurich. In an announcement she made, Hotively emphasized that “the Foreign Ministry will continue to act against groups that operate against Israel from within the country and from abroad."
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The leftist group has planned an exhibition which will include testimonies by IDF soldiers regarding alleged human rights violations in the West Bank. Two weeks ago, the Israeli news website NRG reported that the Swiss foreign ministry supports holding the exhibition and that it contributed 15,000 Swiss francs to that end. The Zurich municipality contributed a further 10,000 francs.
Following publication of this news, Hotovely on Tuesday announced that she had directed senior ministry officials to hold an urgent discussion regarding actions that could be taken against holding the exhibition.
“I instructed our embassy in Bern to immediately look into ways of opposing the opening of this exhibition” she said. “We won’t ignore an organization whose only purpose is to tarnish IDF soldiers in the international arena in order to severely damage Israel’s image.”
This is not the first time the Foreign Ministry has acted against ‘Breaking the Silence.’ In July 2009, a few months after Avigdor Lieberman became foreign minister, Israel lodged protests with Holland and Britain for their support of this organization. The Israeli embassy in The Hague complained then that the Dutch foreign ministry had transferred 20,000 Euros to ‘Breaking the Silence’ for the purpose of composing a repost of soldiers’ testimonies about Operation Cast Lead in Gaza. A few days later, the deputy director general of the Foreign Ministry at the time expressed his concern to the British Ambassador over donations the British Foreign Office was transferring to the leftist Israeli group.