The lives of children in the occupied territories are the focus of a row going on in schools across Israel at the moment.
Breaking the Silence, an organisation of Israeli Defence Force veterans, was founded in 2004 to tell the Israeli public about the reality of army service in the occupied territories: how soldiers treat civilians – including children – in the line of duty. While the organisation primarily works with adults, it has been invited by a number of high-school principals to address pupils who will shortly be conscripted into the army themselves.
But now the Israeli minister of education, Naftali Bennett, who is also the leader of the far-right Jewish Home party, is attempting to stop such groups from speaking in schools.
Mr Bennett is attempting to pass a law giving him the right to ban “negative groups” from schools. Expected to be passed within the next month, the law will give Mr Bennett the right to decide which groups are negative.
“We’re in the middle of an identity war,” says Avner Gvaryahu, of Breaking the Silence. “We are a voice, on the liberal side. It’s small but it’s there. School principals are standing by us, but it’s definitely an uphill battle.”
Visit www.breakingthesilence.org.il to find out more about Breaking the Silence