NIF Israel Executive Director Eliezer Yaari sent an open letter on Sunday to Israeli Defense Force (IDF) Radio Commander Yitzchak Tunik, with a copy to the Chief of Staff, demanding that he take disciplinary action against two talk show hosts on public Army Radio for incitement to violence against an NIF grantee. Breaking the Silence, an organization of former and current IDF members who document human rights abuses committed in the occupied territories, issued a report last week about IDF soldiers who witnessed abuses of Palestinians during the Gaza war. The report garnered attention worldwide.
One of the IDF radio hosts, Kobi Arieli, recounted that in his childhood, a member of his gang was found to be an “informer” to a rival gang. The “informer,” he related, still bears the scar that the gang leader gave him. Arieli added, "The question is why don't the strong people among us break their bones and send them home with scars."
His co-host Irit Linur reminded listeners that Arieli was talking about "breaking the bones" of Breaking the Silence. She added, "They're garbage. It's not worth wasting punches on weaklings and cowards like Breaking the Silence."
Army Radio is a public station funded with government money, and one of the country's most popular stations with both civilians and soldiers. Both the talk show hosts are civilians. Yaari's letter to their superiors said, “I am certain that you will find a way to express your reservations publicly about this dangerous incitement and put the presenters in their place. Otherwise you will be a party to a dangerous phenomenon and even a crime.”
In response Tunik said publicly, "In hindsight it would have been better if some of the things had not been said."
The report by Breaking the Silence cited use of the “neighbor procedure,” where Palestinian neighbors are used as human shields to enter the homes of suspected militants. Despite a High Court ruling which banned the practice in 2005, a staff sergeant in the Golani Brigade spoke of the routine use of the procedure.
The Breaking the Silence report was featured extensively in the Israeli media. In the wake of the report, the IDF said that it is obligated to investigate complaints about specific incidents and will do so.
Listen to the Hebrew program on Army Radio and read the full NIF letter (in Hebrew) at http://www.nif.org.il/?id=1876