Moshe Ya'alon
Moshe Ya'alon Flash 90

Defense Minister Moshe Ya'alon on Sunday evening banned members of the leftist organization "Breaking the Silence" from entering IDF camps and engaging with IDF soldiers.

"Breaking the Silence" has been accused of inciting against Israel on the global stage by accusing it of "war crimes," has been caught accepting false "testimonies" allegedly from IDF soldiers, and admits it has no real vetting process for verifying which claims are true.

"Israel backs the fighters and commanders who go to fight for it, and we will protect all the soldiers when one factor or another persecutes them and tries to harm them while they are outside of Israel," said Ya'alon, adding that the phenomenon is outrageous and unacceptable.

"We'll provide any of our soldiers who are being persecuted with all the means that we have to protect them,” he declared.

"We are aware of vile attempts by various organizations to slander us and our soldiers around the world, and this is a struggle that requires us to disclose the true nature of these people while helping to protect soldiers. I also experienced such persecution in various countries, but this should not dishearten us," continued Ya’alon.

The defense minister stressed that the hypocrisy and false propaganda against the IDF and the State of Israel ''are part of the delegitimization campaigns against us. This is why I instructed to ban the entry of members of 'Breaking the Silence' to any activity with the IDF."

"If the members of 'Breaking the Silence' were really worried about our morality, as we take care and strive to maintain our moral values, they would speak with the army directly, instead of embarrassing our soldiers abroad," said Ya’alon.

Ya’alon’s decision came hours after it was revealed that an IDF reservist who fought on the home front during Operation Protective Edge was briefly detained in the United Kingdom for "war crimes" during a business trip several weeks ago

The Foreign Ministry, the IDF's international law division, and the IDF's Operations Directorate secured the soldier's release after a few hours, and British authorities apologized to Israel.

Defense officials believe that pro-Palestinian and leftist groups may be to blame for the incident. Leftist and pro-Palestinian non-governmental organizations (NGOs) sent out unofficial lists of IDF soldiers who served in active combat in Gaza to European countries and worldwide during the war - and their names and photos have appeared on social media.

Also on Sunday, President Reuven Rivlin spoke at the Haaretz conference in New York, in which a representative of "Breaking the Silence" also spoke, noting that the IDF is "the most moral army in the world."

"I know there is a panel here with a representative of Breaking the Silence," he began. "Sometimes, the obvious needs to be said. "The IDF is doing all it can to maintain high moral values. Our soldiers defend our land and we will do everything possible to defend them," he added.