IDF soldiers in Hebron.
(photo credit: REUTERS)
Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon has banned the Breaking the Silence Group from taking part in any IDF activities, describing the organization as having malicious motives.
In a statement posted on the defense minister’s official Facebook page Sunday night, Ya’alon said Israel “supports the combat soldiers and commanders who go out and fight for it, and we will know how to protect every soldier if any element persecutes or tries them harms them during visits abroad.”
Ya’alon said he was aware of the “foolish attempts by various organizations to slander us and slander IDF soldier around the world. This is a struggle that obligates us to expose the truce face of those people,” adding that, “I myself have experienced personal persecution of this type in various countries in the world.
“This is hypocrisy and false propaganda against IDF soldiers and the state of Israel, and it is a part of the deligitimization against us. Hence, I have banned the involvement of Breaking the Silence members in any IDF activities,” Ya’alon stated.
Had the organization been motivated by a genuine concern about “our morality, as we are and we strive to safeguard our values, they would operate vis-a-vis the IDF directly and they would not tar our soldiers abroad. In the past, there were attempts to clarify incidents and cases that Breaking the Silence members pointed to and they were unsuccessful. As time went by, it became clear that this is an organization with malicious motivations,” Ya’alon said.
According to Army Radio, Breaking the Silence responding to the statement on Monday, saying Ya’alon “crossed a red line when he chose to lash out at IDF soldiers, male and female, who served in the territories.”
The group accused the defense minister of “appointing himself as the minister of silence and fear, when he joined the campaign of incitement being waged by extreme right-wing organizations against democracy in Israel.”
Breaking the Silence describes itself on its website as “an organization of veteran combatants who have served in the Israeli military since the start of the Second Intifada and have taken it upon themselves to expose the Israeli public to the reality of everyday life in the occupied territories. We endeavor to stimulate public debate about the price paid for a reality in which young soldiers face a civilian population on a daily basis, and are engaged in the control of that population’s everyday life.”