Breaking the Silence banned from meeting students

Parents furious after Education Ministry bans high schoolers from meeting with radical anti-Israel organization.

Gary Willig ,

Flash 90

The Education Ministry announced that students from the Harduf High School in the Jezreel Valley would not be allowed to meet with representatives of Breaking the Silence, despite the parents' wishes that the students meet with the radical anti-Israel organization, Yisrael Hayom reported.

In a letter sent to the parents at the school, Dr. Orna Simhon, the director of the Education Ministry's northern district, informed them that the ministry was preventing the organization from entering educational institutions in Israel.

While most Israelis are still reeling from the fact that Breaking the Silence's spokesperson was found by an IDF investigation to have lied intentionally about a trumped up incident of IDF abuse he claimed to have taken part in, the parents of Harduf school reacted angrily to the prohibition on meeting with Breaking the Silence representatives, and sent a letter to Dr. Simhon in response.

"To the best of our knowledge, Breaking the Silence has not been outlawed," the parents said, "We are surprised and resentful about the outrageous decision and the way it was made. The role of the Education Ministry is to encourage learning and research and not to exercise censorship."

Education Minister Naftali Bennett banned Breaking the Silence from entering Israeli schools in 2015. The government advanced legislation banning the organization from schools earlier this year.

Yesterday (Thursday), the Deputy State Prosecutor decided in coordination with the State Attorney to close the self-inflicted investigation against Breaking the Silence spokesman Dean Issacharof.

The investigation was opened after Issacharoff said in a video that he had beaten an Arab during his military service in Hevron until he bled. The comments had been made to highlight alleged human rights abuse by the IDF that Breaking the Silence claims takes place in Judea and Samaria. The IDF responded by launching an investigation to bring Issacharof to justice if he had broken IDF rules.

However, the investigation revealed that the events described by Issacharoff "did not happen at all" and that the Breaking the Silence spokesperson lied about committing an act of brutality in order to tarnish the IDF's reputation. The Arab involved, army records and soldiers' testimony, all denied any such abuse had taken place.