Speaking at the Woodstock Town Hall, Yehuda Shaul, Israeli Defense Force commander and founder of Breaking the Silence, gave a intimate look at occupation in the West Bank and Gaza. The stories he told of humiliating Palestinians and the pictures he showed of bright faced, smiling young men destroying people's homes were almost too much to bear. He likened occupation to a "slow drip of poison in the blood," that eventually kills the soul. His love for Israel was unmistakable. Breaking the Silence is all about Israel, what it is now, and what it must become.
At the end of Yehuda's talk, a number in the audience verbally attacked him. He was "immature" about not accepting what men must do in war. He was favoring the Palestinians who were savage killers and haters of Israel. He was going against what the Bible said.
But Yehuda was implacable. "Occupation is not war," he reminded the audience. He was not supporting the Palestinians; he was holding up a mirror to those who support occupation. If they don't like what they see, then it was up to them to do something about it. As far as the Bible, Yehuda called Israel the "golden calf" of many Americans, a false idol. Israel was his country, not someone else's religious concept. He was speaking out both for himself and for the good of his nation.
At twenty four, Yehuda Shaul is now a warrior for peace.