The “Breaking the Silence Law” initiated by far-right Education Minister Naftali Bennett and MK Shuli Mualem-Refaeli (Jewish Home) was approved by the Knesset overnight Monday, July 16, in its second and third readings. Breaking the Silence is made up of Israeli army veterans who seek to raise awareness of the effects of Israel’s occupation of the West Bank and its siege of the Gaza Strip.
The law states that “extreme leftist organizations that operate against IDF soldiers and against the goals of state education will not be able to enter school grounds and meet with students.” The law authorizes the Minister of Education to determine the rules that will prevent entry to educational institutions of “external elements who act against the goals of education and against the Israel Defense Forces.”
Breaking the Silence blasted the passage of the law and said, “After the religionization comes the silencing: Minister of Education Naftali Bennett is so afraid of Breaking the Silence that he passed a law to silence the occupation. Bennett wants to settle in the classrooms of the state education system and teach his doctrine, as he expressed it in the media ‒ It is justified to shoot at eight-year-old Palestinian children, but it is forbidden to evacuate settlers from their homes.”
“This attempt to shut up Breaking the Silence will not be able to conceal the occupation, but it proves how much Bennett and his friends are afraid of their own ideology. It is time for Bennett and his friends to understand that as long as there is occupation there will also be soldiers who will break their silence to reveal what we have been doing in the territories for 51 years. Do you want us to shut up? End the occupation,” added the organization.
On Sunday, eight young American Jews left a Birthright tour of Israel on behalf of Breaking the Silence to visit a Palestinian family facing eviction from their Jerusalem home. This was the second such incident in two weeks.
Livestreaming the event, the Americans abandoned their tour in the “City of David” archaeological area in order to talk to the Sumreen family, who are facing forced eviction by the Jewish National Fund and The Ir David Foundation (Elad), a right-wing organization settlers “dedicated to the preservation and development of the Biblical City of David.”
The two groups are known for forcing Palestinians from their homes in the Silwan neighborhood that the so-called City of David site belongs to. Palestinians have lived in Silwan for hundreds of years. Elad, which manages the City of David site, is planning to confiscate the Sumreen family home and give it to a Jewish family. The family has been fighting eviction since 1991.
English-language Website of Breaking the Silence: http://www.breakingthesilence.org.il/