Breaking the Silence: Bereaved parents shocked, demand action

The parents of Tzafrir Bar-Or, who was killed in Operation Protective Edge in 2014, were flooded with emotion as they watched the latest investigative report against Breaking the Silence, which was aired on Channel 2 last week, and have asked the prime minister to intervene personally in the matter.

The report showed the ultra-leftist group asking reservist combat soldiers detailed questions about the forces and military equipment in use along the Gaza border, in a way that seemed more like an act of espionage than an attempt to ascertain that the soldiers were behaving in a moral fashion toward civilians.

“Honorable Prime Minister,” wrote Aryeh and Sharona Bar-Or of Nahariya.

“The last time we spoke was during the shiva (seven day period of intense mourning – ed.) over our son, Tzafrir z”l, Deputy Commander of the Golani Reconnaissance Battalion, who fell in the battle of Shejaiya in the course of Operation Protective Edge. When Tzafrir enlisted to Golani, our parental concern was accompanied by great pride. When we were informed that he had been killed, the concern was replaced by great pain, but the pride remained and it has remained there every day since, hour after hour. When you understand the enormity of the task that we were summoned to in Protective Edge, one can only continue to walk with one’s head raised high, in view of the mission Tzafrir fulfilled.

“When you called us in the shiva, you noted that: ‘In the difficult moments, I have to think about all those hundreds and thousands of residents of the South, whom Tzafrir protected with his body, literally.’ You also said that when you experience difficulty with the emptiness left behind by your brother, Yoni, you remember the hostages that he went out to rescue, and to bring home. And yet, nothing prepared us for the flood of emotions that we feel since the report that was broadcast on Channel 2 on Thursday, about Breaking the Silence.

“The investigative report showed Breaking the Silence directing pre-army service youths to enlist into specific units, so that they could serve as contacts and transfer information back to the group. In addition, one could see testimony being taken from a former combat soldier by Breaking the Silence’s employees. The soldier has come to talk to them about a moral dilemma, but the questions he was asked included questions about the order of battle, operational movements, types of weapons and operational information.

“The report made us ask ourselves unbearable questions, about the true motivations of the organization which collected secret and classified information, among other things, including from former members of elite units and people with sensitive roles. One can assume that the thousands of recordings in their possession were not properly secured and encrypted, and we have no way of knowing if the information reached sources that might use it to nefarious ends.

“Mr. Prime Minister, our pain reflects the concern that the irresponsibility of Breaking the Silence and its disparaging attitude toward the activity of IDF soldiers could cause – and may already have caused – danger to the soldiers and loss of human life. An organization that gained a reputation as one that collects testimony about ethical problems, has been exposed in the investigative report as one that collects sensitive and secret information, of the kind that could harm IDF soldiers at this very moment, and who knows – may have already hurt them in the past.

“We turn to you as bereaved parents who speak to a bereaved brother, and as simple citizens who address the prime minister – something has to change. We call on you to personally take care of this phenomenon, which holds within it future dangers to the warriors of the IDF and to the nation of Israel.”

Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu and Defense Minister Moshe Ya'alon have announced that an investigation has been launched into the activities of Breaking the Silence.


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