Breaking the silence in Israel



In Israel a few years several of us met with some very brave soldiers of the Israeli Defense Force. Yehuda Shaul, an Orthodox Jew from Toronto stood out in his eloquent presentation. In brief, they simply could not stand the daily humiliation visited on Palestinians in the Occupied Territories. Most of the abuse still remains hidden from the innocent eyes of North Americans. These soldiers did something about it. They collected hundreds of testimonies from soldiers who protected the thugs in the settlements who with virtual impunity harass school children and rip out olive trees by the hundreds of thousands.


When they posted the fruits of their justice efforts in Tel Aviv it caused shock waves among Israelis who wanted to believe in “the purity of arms”, the morality of the IDF so loudly trumpeted by the state. These brutal acts were not “the exceptions” of a “few bad apples” but the daily norms of Occupation.

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On Friday, June 6th 2014, Breaking the Silence will commemorate its 10 year anniversary and 47 years since the beginning of the Israeli Occupation of the territories.

In a one-of-a-kind event, the veterans with a conscience plan to honor the decade of witnessing by reading out soldier testimony for 10 straight hours. That day, hundreds of public figures, politicians, scholars, artists, journalists, musicians, soldiers, and ordinary citizens alike will participate in a nonstop 10-hour public reading of the  testimonies. There will be no performances, no speeches, just person after person breaking their silence about the harsh reality of day-to-day life in the Occupied Territories.

Since the founding in 2004, nearly 1000 soldiers have provided Breaking the Silence with testimony about their military service. this story has been erased from public life and mired in secrecy, with soldiers largely choosing to keep their families, communities and the entire Israeli society in the dark about what they have to do in order to maintain military occupation over another people.

The soldiers are inviting the Tel Aviv public to become part of the event because in their words “ we believe that the moral and social price we pay for this reality is unbearable.”

How many Canadian newspapers will cover this event?

How many Canadian rabbis will speak to this?


1 Comment »

  1. 1
    mushafta Says:

    Another great post brother Ted!
    How immune we are to this terrible moral crime of suffering on every level. Whenever I hear the the word “Stephen” coming out if the mouth of that Israeli PM I feel ashamed.

    We as Canadians have become complicit in the needless suffering of our brothers and sisters in Palestine through the actions of Israel. Never before has this country lent its hand to such a criminal assault. At the very least we could have been neutral in such an internal matter- regardless of the paranoia Israel feels surrounded by Islamic and other enemies.

    This is a complex issue. I am hoping the new Francis on the job will bring fresh thinking and new bravery on his upcoming visit.

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