breaking the silence

The Smear With The Hebrew Accent

03/30/2016 - 13:42

There is a saying in Israel:  “Ein lie achot” – “I don’t have a sister.”  It’s a Hebrew cousin to Groucho Marx’s question, “When did you stop beating your wife?”  Like that classic, it describes the anatomy of a smear.  Somebody impugns the virtue of your sister.  Soon, word has gotten around about her loose morals, and you and your family are guilty and shamed by association.  Problem is, you don’t have a sister.  But it’s too late, and the truth doesn’t matter.  The smear has succeeded, the damage to your reputation has been done.

Daniel Sokatch

Breaking The Silence Draws Massive Fire

Israeli society is fiercely divided on the group that publishes IDF veterans’ testimonies.

12/23/2015 - 08:47
Web Director

During his army service, Avner Gvaryahu could have served as a poster child for the Israel Defense Forces. How, then, did he come to be reviled last week as a “foreign agent?”

He entered the IDF as a paratrooper in a special operations unit in 2004, and served his three years in the West Bank wearing the kipa sruga, or knitted yarmulke, of Israel’s religious Zionist class.

Soldiers serving in Hebron took this photo, part of Breaking the Silence’s first exhibit. Courtesy of Breaking the Silence

Im Tirtzu Calls Israeli Human Rights Activists ‘Terrorist Moles’

12/16/2015 - 12:49

Jerusalem — The right-wing Israeli group Im Tirtzu called four Israeli human rights activists “terrorist moles” in a new video.

An Im Tirtzu supporter. Via

MK Shaked’s New Bill Stigmatizes, Constrains Left-Wing Israeli NGOs

This new law will affect mainly the organizations that oppose indefinite occupation over Palestinians.

11/16/2015 - 19:00
Special To The Jewish Week

Israeli Justice Minister Ayelet Shaked of the "Jewish Home" party, introduced a new bill last week demanding that Israeli left-wing NGO's identify themselves and their funding resources upon every interaction that they have with the government – using a special "tag.” According to this law, organizations that receive a majority of their funding from foreign governmental agencies would be physically marked. For many in Israel, this suggestion is a reminder, in very bad taste, of the darkest of times.

Ayelet Shaked

Israel Cannot Indefinitely Control The Palestinians

Periodic rounds of violence are an inseparable part of the Israeli right’s one-state vision.

10/18/2015 - 20:00
Special To The Jewish Week

Last week, as I looked through the Jewish Week’s website, I found out that I have something in common with my justice minister Ayelet Shaked. In an interview published in The Jewish Week, Shaked told of the deep influence her military service in Hebron had on her worldview and her choice to lead her life as a politician. In 2001, as a young soldier, I spent my first tour of duty in Hebron. In total, I served as a soldier and commander in the city for about 14 months during the Second Intifada. Like Shaked, I learned lessons in Hebron that have guided me ever since.

Yehuda Shaul

White House Officials Meet Breaking The Silence Reps

06/04/2015 - 20:00

White House officials met with members of Breaking the Silence, an Israeli group that collects soldiers’ testimonies to expose Israel Defense Forces abuses.

The IDF Is Not Living Up To Its Code Of Ethics

05/14/2015 - 20:00
Special To The Jewish Week

Editor's Note: Breaking the Silence, an organization of veteran Israeli soldiers that publicly discusses their experiences serving in the Occupied Territories, recently released a new report about last summer's Gaza campaign.

Last summer, I watched the confrontation between Israel and Hamas on TV, like someone seeing the same movie twice. The last time, it was 2009 and the operation’s name was "Cast Lead." Then, too, pillars of smoke rose from Gaza as IDF ground forces entered. When that operation ended, testimonies of soldiers who served there were published. They described a new reality within the IDF regarding its operation of weaponry. 

Note To Adelson

An occupying regime is neither democratic, nor Jewish, a co-founder of Breaking the Silence writes.

11/25/2014 - 19:00
Special To The Jewish Week

Sheldon Adelson recently implied that Israel does not need to be a democracy, pointing out that there is no mention of the term in the Bible and that “God did not talk about Israel remaining democratic.”

While democracy is not an imperative feature of Israel for Adelson, Judaism is. To understand his vision of the Jewish state’s character, there is no need to activate one’s imagination or search in far away places. It is enough to visit Hebron. The importance of the city in Jewish history is undeniable. It is where, according to belief, the patriarchs are buried; where Abraham settled when he reached the Land of Israel, and where King David was crowned.  For that reason, Hebron is the place where Israel’s character as a Jewish state should be examined, specifically where the meaning of Israel’s Jewish identity manifests daily.

Yehuda Shaul is a co-founder of Breaking the Silence. Quique Kierszenbaum

Hamas Is The Enemy, But What Have We Become?

Hamas is a cruel and cynical enemy, but as an IDF veteran, I ask if Israel has lost respect for human life.

08/03/2014 - 20:00
Special To The Jewish Week

It has been almost four weeks since the military operation “Protective Edge” commenced in Gaza, and the region yearns for quiet. Three civilians were killed at the hands of Hamas Militants and the rockets they fire at Israeli population centers, in the time these sentences were written.

Yehuda Shaul

A Student Says Enough Of Talking About How We Talk About Israel

04/30/2014 - 20:00
Special To The Jewish Week

What do Oded Na’aman of Breaking the Silence and Hen Mazzig of Stand With Us have in common? They are both former IDF soldiers who tour the United States to speak about their experiences serving Israel.

Morriah Kaplan
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