Photo Credit: Screenshot of the Breaking the Silence website
Breaking the Silence activists at work on a street in Israel.

The Ad Kan Organization and senior reserve IDF and Israel Police officers have filed a petition with the High Court of Justice requesting that the Attorney General be compelled to open an investigation into the Breaking the Silence group and its foreign donors for illegally gathering classified IDF information.

Among the plaintiffs are Gen. (res.) Gershon HaCohen, Brigadier General (res.) Amir Avivi, Police Brigadier General (Retired) Dubi Younger, Police Brigadier General (Retired) Avi Terrer, and Lieutenant Colonel (res.) Michael Yigal Maimon.

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Ad Kan is an Israeli Zionist activist NGO. It is known for infiltrating Israeli leftist organizations, as well as organizing protests against anti-Israel groups.

The court ordered the Attorney General and Breaking the Silence to respond to the petition within the next two months. The petition was also forwarded to the European Union and to foreign embassies which have funded the Breaking the Silence NGO.

Ad Kan and the police and military retired and reserve-duty officers petitioned the Supreme Court to order Attorney General Avichai Mandelblit to launch an investigation into Breaking the Silence, claiming that the testimonials gathered by Breaking the Silence go beyond mere testimonials on human rights violations, and that discharged Israeli soldiers have been asked about classified information such as IDF training practices, the locations of forces in the field, tactical plans, and weapons.

It has been revealed in the past that Breaking the Silence maintains direct relationships with foreign governments and has even signed contracts with European governments that require it to provide donors with testimonials on IDF actions in exchange for funding. Among those foreign governments are Belgium, the UK, the Netherlands, and the European Union, who are all named in the petition.

According to the petition, despite the fact that these findings were forwarded to the State Prosecution, the Attorney General supported the prosecution’s decision not to launch an investigation into Breaking the Silence due to “a lack of public interest.”

In the petition, the plaintiffs note that Ad Kan’s findings suggest Breaking the Silence “systematically gathers information on the IDF, its activities and capabilities […] Breaking the Silence now possesses at the very least ‘secret’ information and this information could be released to opposing parties.” Also, “the information provided to Breaking the Silence was classified […] and there is no doubt that these testimonials must be reviewed to determine the classified information [in them].”

According to the plaintiffs’ attorneys, “Ad Kan reached out to Israel Police and asked them to open an investigation into Breaking the Silence for violating the espionage law according to Section 113(c) of the criminal code but was rejected. The State Prosecution and the Attorney General refused to order police to open an investigation based on the evidence presented to them.”

They cite Attorney Rachel Mattar, who heads the Criminal Division of the State Prosecution, who allegedly admitted that “there is no doubt that the soldiers were questioned about operational activities that appear to have little relevance to the stated goals of Breaking the Silence.”

The petition argues that the decision not to launch the investigation was made without a proper authority, since felony offenses must be investigated when preliminary evidence exists. Ergo the State Prosecution’s decision was unreasonable, and the public’s interest requires an investigation over the reasonable concern that Breaking the Silence’s actions could harm national security.

Ad Kan director Gilad Ach said in a statement: “For four years the authorities have refused to launch an investigation against Breaking the Silence, in contrast with their actions in other, similar cases. In general, complaints which are filed are investigated and if there is insufficient public interest or a lack of evidence, then they are closed. However, in this case an investigation was never even started against Breaking the Silence, making it seem as if they and other radical-left groups are somehow ‘exempt’ before the courts.”

Ach said that he hopes “the courts will carefully consider the arguments presented in the petition, including explanations of how information is gathered, how Breaking the Silence is funded by foreign governments, and how they gather testimony on classified IDF activities. All of this must be investigated in order to determine where this classified information ends up.”

Ach added: “The petition has opinions from Generals and Brig. Generals who have explained the classified nature of the information, including an assessment by the Former IDF Director of Information Security. All of this evidence raises questions about whether the State Prosecution cares to protect IDF soldiers from organizations like these.”

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