Israel Needs Breaking the Silence

Instead of finding real solutions to terror attacks, Israel's government has embraced a nasty strategy of wild incitement against a human rights organization.

Haaretz Editorial
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Former Breaking the Silence Executive Director Yuli Novak.
Former Breaking the Silence Executive Director Yuli Novak.Credit: Moti Milrod
Haaretz Editorial

Breaking the Silence has become the biggest threat to Israel’s security, at least according to a Channel 2 investigative report last week. The report presented alleged “evidence” showing the NGO’s activists trying to obtain sensitive military information from a right-wing activist posing as a former soldier.

The “exposé” – which, it transpired, was made by the rightist NGO Ad Kan – made it to Immigrant Absorption Minister Zeev Elkin, who said he was “seriously concerned that Breaking the Silence is being used for espionage.” Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon hastened to order a probe into the incident and, on his Facebook page, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu stated that Breaking the Silence “crossed another red line” and “security officials were looking into the matter.”

Of course, Yair Lapid (Yesh Atid) took advantage of the opportunity to portray himself as a rightist, body and soul. “The NGO is undermining the State of Israel and causing it great damage internally and externally,” he announced. “While Israel is struggling against a wave of terror, Breaking the Silence is taking information and using it against the state. Israel must do everything to protect its soldiers – this organization has no right to exist in a state that is fighting terror daily for its people’s safety,” he said.

All that remains, it seems, is to demand that the cabinet declare Breaking the Silence a terror organization, arrest its members and put on trial the treacherous soldiers who passed on information about the Israel Defense Forces’ crimes in the territories. Then we will have to congratulate Channel 2 for its journalistic achievement, saving Israel from its destroyers, as it previously did with the program “Uvda,” which exposed another “enemy of the state,” left-wing activist Ezra Nawi.

This will apparently solve all the security problems that Israelis are suffering from, and for which the government has yet to devise a solution – the recent terror wave, the intifadas, military operations and other ills deriving from the prolonged occupation.

It is regrettable that instead of leading and finding real solutions to terror, the government is applying a nasty strategy of wild incitement against a human rights organization. All this is taking place in a state that boasts of its democracy and compares itself favorably to the region’s other nations.

Breaking the Silence is a vital, critical organization, whose goal is to cleanse the IDF of its soldiers’ illegal acts – abusing and harassing Palestinians, and interpreting orders in a violent way. The NGO’s objective and insistent activity against the occupation are not acts of treason. In fact, a democracy should be proud of this organization’s existence, give it full backing and stop the populist witch hunt carried out against it.

The government and right-wingers must stop their violent attempts to silence Breaking the Silence, and their repeated use of the NGO as a political scapegoat.

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