Breaking the Silence activist questioned over testimony
Justice Minister Shaked asks attorney general to open investigation into testimony provided by Dean Issacharoff in which he describes how he assaulted a Palestinian during IDF service; Shaked: 'He's a liar or someone involved in violence’: Breaking the Silence: 'Shaked doesn’t really care about the Palestinians.'
The investigation got underway at the behest of Justice Minister Ayelet Shaked (Bayit Yehudi) who asked Attorney General Avichai Mandelblit to look into the testimony Dean Issacharoff provided for the group in which he admitted to assaulting a Palestinian during his military service in Hebron.
Breaking the Silence, which is made up of former IDF soldiers and officers, seeks to "expose the Israeli public to the reality of everyday life in" the West Bank and provides lectures and information around the world on alleged IDF misconduct.
The Justice Ministry published a statement on Friday according to which the State Prosecutor's Office (SPO) had instructed the police to launch an investigation on the request of the Military Advocate General.
An official familiar with the details of the investigation said that Issacharoff was called in for questioning after an official from the SPO sent a video to the Judea and Samaria Police in which Issacharoff can be heard describing how he attacked a Palestinian in Hebron. During the questioning that lasted around an hour-and-a-half, Issacharoff was presented with the footage.
Issacharoff’s lawyer argued that the finger should be pointed at senior officials rather than her client. “We shouldn’t arrest soldiers, but rather investigate those who send them (to Hebron), those who take the decisions in the government,” the attorney said.
Responding to the questioning, Breaking the Silence issued its own statement admonishing Shaked.
“We call on her not to settle for an investigation against one Breaking the Silence activist but rather to also investigate hundreds of male and female soldiers who broke their silence openly in order to explain what we are doing in the territories and about the daily violence that takes place against Palestinians,” the statement reads.
“The justice minister doesn’t really want to open up Pandora’s box of the occupation that will expose the violence and the injustice there,” the statement continued. “Shaked doesn’t really care about the Palestinians, justice or morals. She only seeks to harm Breaking the Silence, and she is on her way to turning the justice ministry and the SPO into a tool for a political witch hunt.”
Striking back in the rally of recriminations, Shaked issued her own remarks. “We are either talking about a liar slamming the IDF or a person involved in violence who needs to be investigated,” she contended.
“The state requested in the past, and will continue to insist on, receiving the testimonies that go to the organization in order to investigate the truth. The IDF is the most moral army in the world, and violent incidents are investigated and dealt with,” she concluded.
The group Reservists on the Front, which is responsible for the petition to investigated Issacharoff, also made its position clear.
“He is either a liar or a criminal. In either case he should pay the price. Reservists on the Front will continue to continue to provide a platform for IDF soldiers and defend them against lies and plots,” the group’s statement said. “We expect the state to protect us soldiers against those who besmirch our name in Israel and the world.”