Photo Credit: Channel 13 screenshot / Twitter
MK Sami Abu Shehada of the Balad party

A bombshell report Saturday night on Israel’s Channel 13 News claimed millions of American dollars were used to increase the Arab vote in Tuesday’s Israeli elections.

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The information was made public by Israeli Arab candidate MK Sami Abu Shehada, chair of the Balad party.

Balad failed to cross the electoral threshold and will not be part of the 25th Knesset as a result.

Biden Administration officials and leaders of the liberal American Jews communities expressed deep concern prior to the election that Israel would be led by right-wing “extremists” in the upcoming government.

Their concerns were focused primarily on the inclusion in the cabinet of Religious Zionism party chair MK Bezalel Smotrich and Otzma Yehudi party chair MK Itamar Ben Gvir.

A fellow journalist on the newscast noted, “This is the second time – the first being in 2015 – that money from the United States and European Union, foreign governments and NGOs, has been used to interfere in Israeli elections” with the goal of preventing Netanyahu from leading the country.

Abu Shehada told Channel 13 anchor Ayala Hasson in an interview, “A lot of American Jewish money went into Arab society to prevent Netanyahu from returning to power.”

The Balad chair said the money “went to Ra’am, and to [Hadash-Ta’al faction leader Ahmad] Tibi and others via all kinds of NGOs in order to increase the vote in [Arab] society.”

Abu Shehada expressed wonder at the phenomenon, asking, “Why would an American Jew, who doesn’t know us at all, and doesn’t know where we live, and in fact we are of no real interest to him, intervene with millions of dollars? What’s his interest?”

According to the Balad leader, the money was invested in various efforts to raise the Israeli Arab voting percentage with “buses in the Negev, house-to-house campaign workers, etc… we’re talking about millions of dollars.”

It is possible to check this out, he said, because the parties are required to file documents detailing their finances.

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Hana Levi Julian is a Middle East news analyst with a degree in Mass Communication and Journalism from Southern Connecticut State University. A past columnist with The Jewish Press and senior editor at Arutz 7, Ms. Julian has written for Babble.com, Chabad.org and other media outlets, in addition to her years working in broadcast journalism.