An alert by the Regavim movement on Wednesday has led to the Coordinator of Government Activities in the Territories (COGAT) confiscating machinery which was about to be used to expand illegal Arab construction near the Jewish archaeological site of Sussya in the southern Judea Mountains.
Regavim said in a statement that the action sent “a clear message that if you are about to break the law, you will be stopped.”
“The Civil Administration must continue to enforce the law, including court orders on illegal construction,” the statement continued, suggesting that “at the same time our government leaders should not succumb to international pressure and when asked to issue their opinion on matters, they should side with court decisions and uphold the law.”
Jerusalem (TPS) – Shurat Hadin has sent United States Vice President Joe Biden a letter ahead of his upcoming visit to Turkey urging him to press for the extradition of Saleh Al-Arouri to the United States for his role in killing two US citizens.
Shurat Hadin, or the Israel Law Center, is a legal organization dedicated to helping terror victims. The letter is the latest in a series of moves Shurat Hadin has taken against Turkey for its protection of Al-Arouri. Shurat Hadin voraciously opposed the reconciliation deal between Israel and Turkey and petitioned the High Court of Justice in July in a failed effort to halt the deal until Turkey ceased sheltering Al-Arouri.
Shurat Hadin filed a petition “on behalf of the families of American terror victims Naftali Fraenkel and Eitam Henkin” with the demand “that the US government use its upcoming meeting with Turkish officials to raise the issue of Al-Arouri’s presence in Turkey and to seek the extradition of Saleh Al-Arouri from Turkey to the United States for his heinous crimes.”
Saleh Al-Arouri is a founding member of the Hamas military wing and is thought to be the mastermind of the abduction and murder of Naftali Fraenkel, Gilad Shaer, and Eyal Ifrach in 2014 as well as the 2015 killing of Eitam and Naama Henkin, who were gunned down while driving near the community of Elon Moreh in Samaria. Al-Arouri is currently residing in Turkey after fleeing Damascus in 2012.
“Turkey is obligated under the Treaty On Extradition and Mutual Assistance in Criminal Matters to grant extradition of requested individuals to the United States if the suspect committed a criminal act that would be punishable had the crime been committed within Turkish jurisdiction,” said Shurat Hadin in a statement. “The kidnapping and murder of US citizen Naftali Fraenkel and the murder of US citizen Rabbi Eitam Henkin clearly fulfill this requirement.”
Vice President Biden is to lead a Justice Department delegation to Turkey that is scheduled to land in Ankara on Wednesday. The delegation is expected to discuss Turkey’s demand to extradite Fethullah Gulen to Turkey as Turkey has accused the 75-year-old cleric of masterminding the July coup against President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, a charge which Gulen denies.
Hamas diverted tens of millions of dollars from World Vision, a U.S.-based Christian charity, to rebuild its terrorist infrastructure, Israel’s Shin Bet domestic security Shin Bet said Thursday.
The terrorist group reportedly siphoned 60 percent of the charity’s resources in Gaza to reconstruct Hamas’ tunnel network and military installations, in addition to purchasing weapons intended to kill Israelis. This amount translated to roughly $7.2 million each year.
Israeli security personnel arrested World Vision Gaza operations manager Muhammad Halabi on June 15. On Thursday, Halabi, also an alleged Hamas operative, was indicted on several charges related to the case.
The investigation revealed that Halabi was recruited to infiltrate World Vision in 2005 for the purposes of stealing funds to help Hamas.
The alleged scheme exemplifies “the cynical and crude way in which Hamas takes advantage of funds and resources from international humanitarian aid organizations,” a Shin Bet statement said.
World Vision defended Halabi and denied the accusations. As of one of the largest humanitarian and charitable organizations worldwide, World Vision receives most of its support from the United Nations and Western governments.
Millions of dollars were intended to help in civilian reconstruction efforts for Gaza’s population, including building greenhouses, enhancing agricultural projects, helping fishermen, and promoting mental and physical health initiatives.
Instead “these [funds] were all used as a pipeline to transfer money to Hamas,” Shin Bet said.
The alleged scheme involved Hamas operatives, posing as World Vision employees, filing fake proposals for World Vision- financed projects in Gaza, before money laundering the cash straight to Hamas and its military wing.
For example, Halabi launched an initiative to build greenhouses to hide terrorist tunnel sites, while a proposed project intended to help Gaza’s fishermen ended up using the money to improve Hamas’ naval capabilities.
Hamas terrorists also falsely listed their children as injured to collect money intended to help children in Gaza who were actually wounded.
Moreover, Halabi used tens of thousands of dollars from the charity’s finances to buy weapons in the Sinai during ousted Egyptian president Muhammad Morsi’s reign.
For more information and examples about how Hamas diverted legitimate charitable funds from World Vision click here.
According to Israel’s investigation, 40 percent of the funds allocated for civilian projects – about $1.5 million per year – were transferred to Hamas’ terrorist units in cash. Approximately $4 million per year intended for helping needy civilians in Gaza were also diverted to Hamas for the purposes of enhancing its terrorist capacity.
Money was also reportedly used to pay the salaries of Hamas personnel, while some senior leaders pocketed large sums for themselves.
Since the end of the summer 2014 war between Israel and Hamas, several reports emerged documenting how the terrorist group prioritizes its fight against Israel over the wellbeing of its population. This latest investigation uncovers important details on how Hamas exploits legitimate charitable organizations worldwide to finance its terrorist infrastructure at the expense of needy civilians and societal development.
A new joint ministerial task force has been formed to address the increasingly damaging phenomenon of Boycott, Divest and Sanctions (BDS) movement activists entering Israel and organizing activities to delegitimize and destroy the country from within.
Public Security Minister Gilad Erdan and Interior Minister Arye Deri announced in a joint statement Sunday that the news task force will be focused on tracking down the hundreds of BDS activities who already exist within Israel and who organize events calling for boycotts of the Jewish State.
The task force “is a necessary step in light of the malicious intentions of delegitimizing activists who work to spread lies and twist the truth about the reality in our region,” Erdan said.
“We have a responsibility to do everything possible to crush any boycott and to state clearly that we will not allow the State of Israel to be harmed,” added Deri. The Interior Minister is responsible for the Population, Immigration and Borders Authority as well.
Both were firm that it is time to put a stop to the boycotts against Israel, and each expressed determination to fight the phenomenon via the laws and agencies at his disposal.
The move comes as the realization sets in that Israel is increasingly being seen in the international arena as a pariah state — an existential threat that must be turned around if Israel is to survive.
Speaking to the Knesset Committee for the Transparency and Accessbility of Government Information, Sima Vaknin-Gil said the goal of the Strategic Affairs and Public Diplomacy Ministry is to replace that image with one that is more positive, hopefully within the decade.
Vaknin-Gil, director-general of the ministry, said that if all goes as planned and the current “narrative” is replaced, by 2025, no one will question whether the State of Israel has the right to exist.”
Meanwhile, as a start, the lawmakers will work to deport those involved in the BDS movement in the country, according to the statement released by the ministers. In addition, BDS activists will be barred from entering the country. Boycotting Israel, said Erdan, “must have a price.”
At least two dozen NGOs receive more than half of their funding from foreign government and other sources outside the State of Israel, and use the money to delegitimize and further isolate the Jewish State.
Erdan — who doubles as Strategic Affairs and Public Diplomacy Minister — added that BDS activists make a point of traveling to Judea and Samaria to incite violence among citizens of the Palestinian Authority, and to block operations by the IDF and Border Guard Police.
Rita Faye has visited Israel a number of times in the past and is well known to the IDF for her harassment of Israeli soldiers at checkpoint crossings into the Palestinian Authority around Jericho. When it became known that she was on her way to Israel, the IDF requested the Interior Ministry block her entry into the country.
Faye is a member of a pro-BDS Christian organization. She was put on a plane and sent back to where she came from, with a deportation order signed by the Interior Minister.
The Knesset plenum on Monday night passed the NGO Law, a.k.a. the Transparency Law, by a 57 to 48 majority. The new legislation’s official title is “Law on disclosure requirements for recipients of support from a foreign political entity.” It was the brain child of Justice Minister Ayelet Shaked (Habayit Hayehudi) and it requires NGOs that receive more than 50% of their budget from a foreign source to report this fact to the NGO registrar and to note it in a visible fashion in all their publications as well as their communications with public officials.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu commented Monday night on his Facebook page that “the purpose of the law is to prevent an absurd situation whereby foreign countries intervene in Israel’s internal affairs through their NGO funding while the Israeli public is unaware of it. Contrary to the arguments on the left, passing the law will increase transparency, contribute to creating a dialog that reflects accurately the views of the Israeli public and will bolster Democracy.”
The vote followed a boisterous, even rowdy six hour debate during which the opposition submitted no less than one thousand reservations, and opposition members expressed resolute objections to the bill. Meretz chair Zehava Galon accused the bill’s authors that their purpose “isn’t enhancing the transparency but [constitutes] political persecution. … the bill’s authors and promoters wish to shut the mouths of organizations that challenge government policy.”
MK Tzipi Livni (Zionist Camp) warned that the new law “defames our reputation in the world worse than any NGO could have done and destroys us from within.” Other ZC members were also of the opinion that the law is intended to quash opposition to the rightwing majority, at the expense of Israel’s reputation as a world democracy.
For comparison, the US Foreign Agents Registration Act (FARA), passed in 1938, requires that agents representing the interests of foreign powers in a “political or quasi-political capacity” disclose their relationship with the foreign government and information about related activities and finances. The purpose is to facilitate “evaluation by the government and the American people of the statements and activities of such persons.” In 2007 the Justice Department launched an online database which can be used by the public to search filings and current reports.
The US law requires periodic disclosure of all activities and finances by people and organizations that are under control of a foreign government, of organizations or of persons outside of the United States (“foreign principal”), if they act “at the order, request, or under the direction or control” of this principal (i.e. as “agents”) or of persons who are “controlled or subsidized in major part” by this principal. Organizations under such foreign control can include political agents, public relations counsel, publicity agents, information-service employees, political consultants, fundraisers or those who represent the foreign power before any agency or official of the United States government.
But the US law provides explicit exemptions for organizations engaged in “religious, scholastic, academic, or scientific pursuits or of the fine arts,” as well as for those “not serving predominantly a foreign interest.”
Constitution, Law and Justice Committee Chairman MK Nissan Slomiansky (Habayit Hayehudi) told the House that “anyone wishing to influence the agenda of the Israeli public must be transparent. It is inconceivable that foreign states would hide behind associations and organizations acting on behalf of interests that are not in line with those of the State of Israel. Now everything is on the table, everything is revealed, and they will undergo the public’s scrutiny.”
Slomiansky proceeded to read from a list of just how much money some leftwing NGO received from abroad—some of whom get 100% of their budget this way—and the opposition benches went on the warpath, drowning his voice with their angry shouting.
After rejecting dozens of objections, the Constitution, Law and Justice Committee on Wednesday approved for its second and third readings in the Knesset plenum a bill which would require non-governmental organizations that get more than half their funding from foreign governments or governmental agencies to make the public servants and elected officials they meet with aware of this fact and also report it in all their written publicity material.
The committee decided to merge three bills: one sponsored by the government and two other proposed by MKs Robert Ilatov (Yisrael Beitenu) and Bezalel Smotrich (HaBayit HaYehudi).
NGOs that will violate the so-called NGO Transparency Law will be fined $7,500. The law, if passed, will not apply retroactively, meaning these organizations will not have to declare such contributions that were received in the past. The law, should it be approved, will go into effect in January 2017 and will only apply to donations received from that date on.
Justice Minister Ayelet Shaked (Habayit Hayehudi) praised the transparency law, saying it would expose the fact that anti-Israeli NGOs are being funded by foreign governments. She said in a statement, “Countries should know that expressing their opinion about events inside Israel should be done via the familiar diplomatic channels. There is no comparable foreign intervention in a state’s internal affairs anywhere in the world, and there is no democracy that would have approved it. We, too, will not permit such a blunt intervention without exposing its foreign funding sources and bringing it to the public’s attention and to the attention of its elected officials.”
After the bill was approved by a vote of 7-6, Constitution Committee Chairman Nissan Slomiansky (HaBayit HaYehudi) said the bill was revised to avoid any constitutional harm. Addressing members of the opposition, he said, “You also admit that nothing much is left of [the bill].”
As to the opposition, its members on the committee were not happy. Neither was MK Benny Begin (Likud), who was elected with the strong intervention of Prime Minister Netanyahu, but who might as well be in the opposition. Begin said the legislation may produce results that do not coincide with the legislator’s intention. “We should operate thrrough diplomatic means,” he argued. “This was proven by the negotiations with Holland, Britain and Switzerland.”
MK Elazar Stern (Yesh Atid) said, “If it were up to MK Smotrich, the law would differentiate between Jewish and Arab donors. The law is devoid of any legal content.”
MK Yael German (Yesh Atid) said the bill “shames and slanders NGOs which criticize the government’s work. Someone recently said that there are buds of fascism in the country. That is what there is in this law – buds of fascism against organizations that promote human rights.”
MK Michal Rozin (Meretz) said the bill clearly “persecutes” NGOs, and called to “throw out of the Knesset legislators who introduce such bizarre laws.”
MK Osama Sa’adi (Joint Arab List) said, “There is a person who contributes tens of millions of dollars to an NGO through a company that is listed in Panama. If we are talking about transparency, then an NGO which is hiding its funds should reveal its sources [of funding].”
MK Revital Swid (Zionist Camp) said the bill was introduced solely “for the political gain of parties that want to show their public that they acted and labeled.”
MK Micky Rosenthal (Zionist Camp) stated that the purpose of the law is to “poke in the eye and say ‘Here, we did it to you on purpose.'” He said NGOs will easily find a way to circumvent the law.
Back in January, Bild, Germany’s largest circulation daily newspaper, supported Shaked’s NGO transparency bill, which had been attacked as anti-democratic by a Washington Post editorial. Bild noted that the criticism of the bill ignores the fact that millions of foreign dollars are given each year to anti-Israeli NGOs which operate inside Israel and support the boycotts against the Jewish State. Can the bill, which merely requires those NGOs to openly reveal their funding sources, really be compared to Putin’s blatantly anti-democratic rule, Bild was wondering.
Israel’s remaining vestige of leftwing cultural tradition, Ha’aretz, fell for a rightwing hoax that exposed it as utterly bereft of the capacity for introspection, and worse, utterly without a sense of humor. This absence of humor could be attributed both to the paper’s proud tradition of German publishing (Ve don’t like jokes, sank you very much), as well as to the decline of the Israeli left, which used to do funny.
What’s good for the goose, the gander should at least try once, figured Israeli rightwing NGO Regavim, which is usually engaged in tracking European Union and Arab violations of real estate regulations in areas legally under Israeli control in Judea and Samaria. If upwards of 30 Israeli and Arab leftwing NGOs are receiving millions of euros annually to influence Israeli policy, why not invest a couple of shekels in influencing European policy? Take, for instance, the Brexit referendum coming up this week, in which Britons will decide whether or not to leave the European Union, and which all UK citizens find annoying, humiliating and repressive, but about half of them say it’s worth it for the economic benefits (which brings to mind certain obvious professions).
So Regavim launched a campaign featuring a website with a message to expat Britons in Israel to vote yes on leaving the EU: Support Israel – Leave Europe, which features some inflammatory text, actually making their case about the goose and the gander:
“The EU pumps hundreds of millions of pounds into Israel annually through an array of NGOs in addition to the Palestinian Authority. With over 200 land disputes worldwide, the EU’s constant singling out of Israel is tantamount to state sponsored anti-Semitism.
“For decades, the pro-Israel community has sat and watched as the Europeans increase their influence and meddle with the lives and future of the people of Israel. Finally Israel supporters in the UK and abroad can take a stand against the EU, by voting leave.”
How much could that have cost? Eight bucks to register the URL, plus, say $50 to get a guy to put it up. Then they invested another hundred bucks or so in a video showing a Hamas traditionally masked press conference encouraging Britons to stay in the EU, because it would advance the Hamas cause. The bang they got for their buck was huge, because Ha’aretz reporter Uriel David leaped on the opportunity to slam the right, leaped without looking, we should add.
“Rightwing NGO Receiving Public Funds Calling on British to Leave the Union” was the headline, followed by, “The rightwing NGO Regavim supports the UK leaving the European Union as revenge for its support for the Palestinians. A January examination revealed that, according to the same NGO, it received about 11 million shekels ($2.85 million) from government entities.”
Then Ha’aretz added, without a shred of self awareness, apparently, after decades in which it has supported the vast flow of European money to fully fund anti-Israeli, leftwing NGOs: “Regavim is a non-profit active in favor of judaizing lands and against illegal Palestinian construction in Israel and the West Bank. The organization’s heads often criticize the European Union and other international entities for their alleged (sic) intervention in Israel’s internal affairs and their support for illegal construction programs.”
So now it’s been established, the goose really hates it when the gander is doing goosey things, and sees nothing funny about it.
Finally, the most rewarding reaction from the left came from Peace Now founder Yariv Oppenheimer, who regularly reminds you of the kid who gets picked last for games but hasn’t given up trying to look cool, who tweeted: “The Israeli government is funding an NGO that tries to meddle in the internal affairs of another country? Can it be?”
Hey, if the Brexit goes in favor of cutting away from the continent—a move endorsed by John Cleese of Monty Python fame, who really knows humor—it could be blamed on those pesky settlers.