Breaking the Silence member: ‘Gov’t doesn’t determine legitimacy of my voice’

The Knesset plenum voted Wednesday [January 4] to order the House Committee to consider establishing a parliamentary panel of inquiry into left-wing Israeli organizations that allegedly participate in delegitimization campaigns against Israel Defense Forces soldiers…MK Fania Kirshenbaum (Yisrael Beiteinu ), who submitted the proposal, alleged during the debate that the groups targeted for investigation were to blame for foreign actions aimed at delegitimizing Israel and its officials.

Source: Haaretz


By Mikhael Manekin

I know what I won’t tell them at the Kirshenbaum Committee. I won’t tell them that I immigrated to Israel with my family as a child. I won’t tell them that I served as an officer in the Golani Brigade. I also won’t tell them that I did 35 days of reserve duty on emergency call-up orders in the Second Lebanon War. I won’t tell them these things because I don’t owe them anything. They don’t need to love us or tell us  that we are patriots. They are doing far more damage to this place than we are.

Because of them millions of Palestinians live under military occupation. Because of them the regard toward foreign workers is shocking. Because of them Palestinian-Israelis do not live in full equality in their own country. And because of them our position in the world is deteriorating day by day. An Israeli travelling abroad today is not ashamed because of me, he is ashamed because of Lieberman. He is ashamed because of the occupation. And because of them my friends are leaving the country –  to study abroad, to work abroad – they want to find a place that is normal, a place that does not shame their existence. A place they can live in.

And in any case, since when do I need permission from the government to say something? Who are they to determine whether my voice is legitimate or not? Obviously they do not like what I say – I speak against them. And they should listen to me. Or turn their backs. But they do not have the right to tell me when I can and cannot speak. And I don’t intend to explain this to them.

Maybe I’ll tell them something anyway – maybe I’ll tell them about the soldiers who arrest innocent Palestinians to practice real arrests. On orders. Maybe I’ll tell them what a closure is, or a seal, or a curfew, and how these words have destroyed the lives of millions – not for sake of security, but for controlling another. Maybe I’ll tell them that today, just today, I met a young  man who was discharged from the army last week and thinks only of Hebron and what he did there and wants to scream to society of the deeds done in its name, but he’s scared …

I’m not going to apologize or pander to this committee. They do more to harm me, my family and my surroundings than anybody else. But I’m going to fight this committee, and every person or entity that tries to silence me. And I will do this by breaking the silence and resisting the occupation.

Mikhael Manekin is a member of Breaking the Silence and former officer in the Israeli infantry.