Any society or government is bound to have its share of malcontents. It’s a reality of life. The Israel Defense Force is no exception. Close to 12 years ago, a group of disaffected soldiers and veterans of the IDF formed an organization known in Hebrew as Shovrim HaShtikah or Breaking the Silence. Its goal is to tell the other side of the story of the most “remarkable” army in the world, by bringing to light incidents of unacceptable and even criminal behavior on the part of its soldiers. And so, Breaking the Silence tells how the army indiscriminately fired at a nearby settlement thereby killing innocents. Similarly, Breaking the Silence reports how three or four soldiers of a unit entered a home, blindfolded its occupants holding them at bay, so that the soldiers could commandeer the television and watch a soccer game being broadcast.
Breaking the Silence may be a perturbed and agitated group of soldiers and veterans but at the same time it sure as heck ain’t the sharpest knife in the drawer. Fulminate if you must, but don’t tell us that Israeli soldiers engage in immoral and illicit behavior against civilians. Not only do your charges and claims insult our intelligence and make us very angry, but it gives you zero credibility.
Only Fort Knox is under tighter scrutiny than the Israel’s army. With more reporters looking for a front page story of a dishonest or crooked soldier who takes the Palestinian problem way too personally and camera men all too trigger happy to get the incident on tape, the IDF is very much aware that just one wrong move on the part of their soldiers against the “poor Palestinians” and as they say in Italian: Badda Bing! Badda Boom! All hell breaks loose in the sanctimonious media that shapes the vacuous minds of the vast majority of its viewers and readers.
The IDF avoids trouble at all cost. Very much aware that it is held to higher standard than any other army in the free world, very much cognizant of that these standards are at times even seemingly impossible to attain, the IDF has for the longest time adopted an attitude very much like the fictional Paul Cicero of the 1990 Mafia movie Goodfellas. “I don’t need that” every commander screams at his men at his men, reminding them that by is very nature, the IDF finds itself sitting on a tinderbox 24/7.
One vital bit of information that Breaking the Silence just doesn’t get, yet the Arab enemy understands only too well, is that as brilliant as the IDF is, it is still very much dictated by its heart and soul. Because of this, the enemy will use human shields whenever possible, knowing that Israeli soldiers have far more respect for the lives of Palestinian children than Palestinian fighters do. Because of this, Israeli units have placed themselves and at times Israeli civilians in harm’s way. It is not all that far-fetched that the 12 year old Palestinian youth the Israeli soldiers are refraining from shooting at, in order to neutralize the terrorist cowering behind the youth, might very well be the next “suicide bomber” as he avoids detection at a military checkpoint and then proceeds to make his way to a Jerusalem market to detonate himself, snuffing out the lives of any number of Israelis and injuring many others.
As much as I hate to admit it, thanks to existing in a democratic country Breaking the Silence can continue with impunity to disseminate its “information” and viewpoint, however skewed and blatantly false it may be. One thing however I would hope the Israeli court system can change. The group has no right to call itself Breaking the Silence. Breaking the Silence is a misnomer. The group should be required by the court system to change its name. Breaking Our Hearts would be a far more apt moniker, because that’s precisely what the group is managing to do.