Breaking the Silence said Tuesday that it stood by the claims of its spokesperson Dean Issacharoff, who continues to claim that he indeed beat and dragged a Chevron Arab while he was on reserve duty, even after prosecutors dropped the case last week because they said they did not believe Issacharoff’s claims.
As proof, the leftist group released a new video in which is shown Issacharoff ostensibly committing the acts he described – and said that the Arab that prosecutors interviewed who denied that Issacharoff had beaten him was not the same Arab as in the video.
This is the second video Breaking the Silence has released in relation to the incident; the first one was last March, when Issacharoff first made the claims. Issacharoff is a spokesperson for the far-left Breaking the Silence organization. In that earlier video, Issacharoff is seen describing an incident in Chevron in which he, as an IDF officer serving reserve duty four years ago, abused an unarmed Palestinian. Soldiers, including Issacharoff, were trying to arrest the Palestinian, who was resisting in a noncombative manner. “My commander asked me to handcuff the suspect, but I couldn’t. I didn’t know what to do. He didn’t speak Hebrew and I didn’t speak Arabic. So I grabbed him by the neck and began kicking him in the face and the chest, until he was bleeding.” The point of the video was to show the “corrupting influences of the occupation on IDF soldiers,” Breaking the Silence said.
All the soldiers in Issacharoff’s unit have denied the story as well – except one, who is the only other soldier who appears in Issacharoff’s new video. The Arab is seen in part of the video with what appear to be injuries to his face. The new video, which surfaced just this week, was filmed by Betselem, another radical leftist group, Breaking the Silence said.
In a statement, the Prosecutor’s Office said that it had followed up on a request to investigate the matter, and had examined all relevant evidence. “The investigation was conducted in conjunction with the information that was given to us about the time, date, place and circumstances surrounding the event. The new videos released tonight were never presented to us. If it appears that a crime was committed on another occasion, an investigation can be opened into that event as well.”
Meanwhile, soldiers in the IDF unit in which Issacharoff served told Yediot Acharonot that they were considering suing the Breaking the Silence spokesperson for slander. “We knew he was lying,” the soldiers said. “In the wake of the case, we gathered all the soldiers and investigated the situation, on the off chance that something may have happened, something that our commanders missed. But it never happened. He simply lied and defamed us and now we are considering suing him for the damages he caused us. We served in Chevron, in Operation Protective Edge, and we always acted in as respectable manner as possible, given the circumstances, and that means no hitting, and certainly no torturing.” The Arab who was the alleged victim of the violence denied that he had been beaten by anyone.
Investigators closed the case against Issacharoff last week. “Based on the lack of evidence we find Issacharoff’s claims to be false, and there is no blame here in his actions.” In the wake of the dismissal of charges, Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu said in a social media post that the case proves that “Breaking the Silence lies and spreads bad rumors about our soldiers. In the wake of this case we received another proof of this.” Commenting on the decision, Justice Minister Ayelet Shaked said that “it appears that the Breaking the Silence spokesperson is a liar who seeks to defame Israel in the world. I have true respect for the members of his unit who were not prepared to join him in his lies.”