MKs call on A-G to investigate Breaking the Silence

Breaking the Silence slammed the letter, calling it a "desperate attempt" of a "discredited far-Right settler organization [Ad Kan] to revive a failed political campaign."

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March 25, 2019 03:53
2 minute read.
Manhunt for Ariel terrorist (IDF SPOKESPERSON'S OFFICE)

Manhunt for Ariel terrorist (IDF SPOKESPERSON'S OFFICE). (photo credit: IDF SPOKESPERSON'S OFFICE)

 
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Nine MKs sent a letter to Attorney-General Avichai Mandelblit asking him to open an investigation into Israeli NGO Breaking the Silence (BTS) and how it operates against the IDF.

BTS is made up of former IDF soldiers who report about their negative experiences serving over the Green Line.

In the letter, the MKs wrote, “Breaking the Silence holds classified military intelligence and that information could be exposed to the detriment of Israel’s security.”

The MKs include Miki Zohar, Tzipi Hotovely, Sharren Haskel and Yoav Kisch from Likud; Oded Forer and Robert Ilatov from Yisrael Beytenu; Shuli Moalem-Refaeli from New Right; Moti Yogev from Bayit Yehudi; and Yinon Azoulay from Shas.

In the letter, the nine said that during the interviews, soldiers were questioned in depth about “their military training, troop deployments, military guidelines and plans, classified weaponry and operations” they were involved in including information about operations related to Syria and the Gaza Strip.

“From reviewing the testimony, it appears that the organization gathers operational information in a purposeful manner, while manipulating the soldiers and convincing them to provide classified information in serious violation of the law,” the MKs said.

Ad Kan director Gilad Ach said in a statement the organization joined “the Members of Knesset in calling on the attorney-general to open an unbiased investigation into this matter as has been done in similar cases in the past. It is unfathomable that a private citizen could gather and hold classified information on the IDF and be exempted from any legal consequences.”

Ad Kan is known for its infiltration and investigations into Israeli left-wing organizations.


BTS spokesman Dean Issacharoff slammed the letter and its motives. In an interview on Sunday, Issacharoff told The Jerusalem Post that Ad Kan was trying to repair the damage they had done to themselves when their undercover videos, aired on Channel 2 in 2016, were proven to have “no basis.”

At the time, Chief Military Censor Ariela ben-Avraham said, “What Breaking the Silence published was forwarded in advance to the censor and approved for publication, because it did not do any real harm to the security of the state.”

In 2017, Rachel Mattar, head of the Criminal Law Matters Division at the State Attorney’s Office, said she was “not aware of any instance in which the organization published classified information held in its possession without the approval of the military censor,” and that there was “no evidence was found according to which Breaking the Silence, or any activists on its behalf, imparted classified information to bodies outside of Israel.”

Mattar added, “[I] found neither concrete evidence to substantiate this allegation, nor did I find any indication that the organization has the ability to influence the assignment of its activists within the framework of their military service.”

Mandelblit at the time corroborated Mattar’s findings.

Issacharoff told the Post that after both the state attorney and attorney-general “dismissed these accusations as baseless lies [in 2017], it’s clear that this is the desperate attempt of a discredited far-Right settler organization [Ad Kan] to revive a failed political campaign against soldiers who expose the consequences of our service in the occupied territories.”

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