McCarthyism, the Ya’alon Version: What have we become? What kind of country do we pretend to be, when the Minister of Defense joins the hunt for the heads of the soldiers of Breaking the Silence? Tonight, we sent an urgent letter to the Minister signed by the Meretz MKs, which call for him to go back back on silencing the testimony of the soldiers and ex-combatants. These soldiers risked their lives for the security of the state, and are worried about its character and image.
In a normal country, you need to allow legitimate criticism. The misconduct reported has been verified, and there to discourage the culture of cover-up that is so often practiced in these parts, especially where the army and soldiers are responsible over human lives. So we wrote:
The media reported yesterday that in your capacity as Defense Minister, there is a ban on the entry of members of Breaking the Silence to hold activities with IDF units. Meretz is shocked by the cynical and dangerous way in which you are exploiting the IDF – an army of the people, and we call on you as the Defense Minister to retract your attempts to silence soldiers and ex-combatants, who are fighting for the future of Israel. Your recent words are a declaration of war not only on Breaking the Silence, but Israeli democracy as a whole, and a despicable attempt to silence positions that are not aligned with the positions of the Likud and the Israeli right.
For months, Israel conducted a silencing campaign led by the extreme right, whose sole purpose is the silencing of the Left and the delegitimizing of individuals and organizations fighting for the moral and ethical character of Israeli society. We regret to hear that in your role as Defense Minister, you stand alongside those who wish to bulldoze the Supreme Court, and you chose to open with a surprise attack on the Left in general, and the soldiers in particular.
Breaking the Silence shows how clear and necessary it is to stand against the Occupation for the future of Israel to be moral and democratic. Members of the organization, past and present soldiers, risked their lives for the security of the state, and now stand on the right to tell the Israeli public about the mission on which they were sent to fulfill in their name. We urge you, in your capacity as Defense Minister, not to silence the soldiers when they disagree with the method and political ideologies of the establishment.
The original text was first posted by Meretz here. You can also watch footage of Meretz MK Zehava Gal-On speaking to Knesset on this matter. Text translated by B. Lana Guggenheim.