Israel’s New Deputy Foreign Minister Faces Off Against Breaking the Silence Over Swiss Exhibition
Israel’s new deputy foreign minister, Tzipi Hotovely, instructed the Foreign Ministry to act against activist group Breaking the Silence over an exhibition it is hosting in Zurich, which will continue through this weekend, Israeli news site NRG reported on Tuesday.
Hotovely said she called on Foreign Ministry officials to “hold an urgent meeting to decide on the course of action we will take against Breaking the Silence’s actions in Switzerland.”
Hotovely added that she sent instructions to the Israeli embassy in Switzerland to examine the most direct course of action to take against the exhibition.
Hotovely said the Ministry would not “move on to the daily agenda while an organization whose sole purpose was to tarnish the image of Israel’s soldiers was running around in the international arena trying to damage Israel’s image.”
She added that she would ensure that “the Foreign Ministry continues its extensive activities against anybody working against Israel, from within and from abroad.”
Breaking the Silence responded angrily to Hotovely’s initiative.
The organization said it was “disappointed to see officials in the government assisting an anti-democratic campaign. Not only does this harm human rights organizations in Israel, but it also tarnishes the image of Israeli society in the international community.”
In a post on its Facebook page, Breaking the Silence criticized the deputy foreign minister’s decision, saying, “Tzipi, before you waste your energy preaching to us what is permitted or forbidden to say, perhaps you forgot that we were the ones sent to the [Palestinian] territories — to serve at the checkpoints, to enter the homes of Palestinians, to enforce curfews, to arrest children, and much more.”
The group added that their exhibition, currently underway in Switzerland, had previously been on display at the Knesset. They even extended an invitation to Hotovely to see the exhibit, saying, “we would be pleased if Knesset Member Hotovely, the Israeli Ambassador in Switzerland, and anyone else who so desires comes and listens to us and our testimonies and carries out a genuine debate about our country’s values, rather than tries to shut us up through cowardly and violent means and in an anti-democratic manner.”