'Breaking the Silence Law' passes first reading

Law to ban 'Breaking the Silence' from entering Israeli schools passes first Knesset reading.

Hezki Baruch,

Breaking the Silence
Breaking the Silence
Tomer Neuberg/Flash 90

The Knesset on Monday approved the first reading of a law which grants the Education Minister authority to ban organizations which incite against the IDF from entering government schools.

The law, proposed by Education Minister Naftali Bennett (Jewish Home) and MK Shuli Moalem-Refaeli (Jewish Home) takes aim at the leftist "Breaking the Silence" organization.

"Breaking the Silence crossed red lines a long time ago, when they chose to slander and lie about IDF soldiers, on an international platform," Bennett said. "Their mistake was traveling abroad, to criticize Israel and the IDF from outside Israel. You want to change something? Change something in your own home. But as long as they are working, from abroad, against Israel and the IDF, I will not allow their activities in the school system, which is entrusted with shaping the future generation. There is no reason such voices should be heard by our students."

"Breaking the Silence spreads lies about the IDF, its soldiers, and its commanders, around the world. This organization does not actually pretend to right wrongs. Instead, it undermines the State and the Israeli educational system's goals. We cannot allow them into schools," Moalem-Refaeli said.

"The educational system's goals do not just include academic goals and student grades, they include values as well. We encourage students to serve in significant roles in the IDF and National Service, to contribute to the State of Israel, and to maintain the IDF's honor and standing. Breaking the Silence does the opposite."

Meanwhile, Breaking the Silence responded, "For a year and a half already, Bennett has continuously attempted to silence us and prevent us from meeting the youth, and he has failed. The ones harming IDF soldiers are politicians such as Bennett. We suggest Bennett and his men...begin to internalize: The only way to stop us is to end the occupation."

In May 2017, the State Prosecutor's Office announced its decision to investigate the suspicion that Dean Issacharoff, spokesman for Breaking the Silence, had beaten an Arab while serving in the IDF.

In March 2016, Channel 2 broadcast highly incriminating video evidence filmed with hidden cameras by nationalist group Ad Kan and showing that Breaking the Silence engaged in what appears to be espionage activity against the IDF.

At the same time, NGO Monitor, a watchdog which tracks extremist anti-Israel NGOs, revealed that Breaking the Silence received 78% of its budget between 2012 and 2015 from European governments, including Switzerland, Denmark, the Netherlands, Sweden, France, and the EU. Additional funds came from the New Israel Fund. During those years, Breaking the Silence's budget amounted to some 6.8 million shekels, or $1.8 million.


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