Breaking the Silence is an organization of veteran combatants who have served in the Israeli military since the start of the Second Intifada and have taken it upon themselves to expose the public to the reality of everyday life in the Occupied Territories. They endeavor to stimulate public debate about the price paid for a reality in which young soldiers face a civilian population on a daily basis, and are engaged in the control of that population’s everyday life. Over the past year, Breaking the Silence has faced an unprecedented wave of attacks from the Israeli right, including several direct attacks from the prime minister himself.
Avner Gvaryahu was born in the Israeli city of Rehovot and raised in the religious nationalist community. During his army service, he served in the special forces of the paratroopers brigade, where he attained the rank of staff sergeant. A year after he was discharged he joined Breaking the Silence as a researcher and tour guide with a focus on working with world Jewry. In his last position he served as the director of the Public Outreach Department and has been with BTS for over five years. Avner holds a B.A. in social work from Tel Aviv university and today is an M.A. candidate in the Institute for the Study of Human Rights at Columbia.