Public Funding for Swiss ‘Breaking the Silence’ Event Stuns Local Jewish Community
The Swiss Foreign Ministry and Zurich municipality’s decision to sponsor a traveling exhibition by Israeli nongovernmental organization Breaking the Silence has raised eyebrows in the local Jewish community, Israeli NRG news site reported Wednesday.
The event is set to be held in June at the “Culture Helferei” events center, and will feature testimonies from former Israeli soldiers claiming that the IDF carried out unnecessary killings of Palestinians, according to NRG.
The testimonies are expected to deal mainly with military operations against Palestinians, and alleged violations of human rights by IDF soldiers during the course of their service.
Community representatives in Zurich told NRG that Breaking the Silence originally sought out a local synagogue for its exhibition, but was rejected after the group refused to organize additional soldiers to tell “the other side of the story.”
“I didn’t serve in the army and I don’t know the issue,” said president of the community Andrei Bolog, according to the report. He expressed disbelief that the Swiss authorities would fund the event, adding that he would make further inquiries into the decision.
Swiss officials told NRG that the country supported the event because it increased “dialogue about human rights.”
The event invitation, posted on the Medico International website, states that for, “48 years, the Israeli army has been occupying the Palestinian territories.” It also claims that the mission of ‘Breaking the Silence’ is to, “raise awareness of the daily reality in the Occupied Territories, and to create public discourse on the moral price for military control of a civilian population and an occupation that has lasted many long years.”