Israeli defense minister blasts veterans' group

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JERUSALEM (AP) — Israel's defense minister has condemned an organization critical of the army and directed the military to exclude it from any activities.

Moshe Yaalon says he has forbidden Breaking the Silence from conducting any activities with the Israeli military because the group "is part of the attempts to delegitimize us."

Since its founding in 2004, the group of former Israeli soldiers has collected testimony from more than 1,000 veterans who described improper or illegal behavior against Palestinians.

Breaking the Silence spokesman Avihai Stollar says his organization focuses on informing Israeli civilians, but has conducted about half a dozen workshops or lectures with the military in the past year.

He says Yaalon's comments on Facebook Sunday obscure "the daily moral price of a prolonged military occupation."

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