Photo Credit: Yonatan Sindel/Flash90
Attorneys at the Supreme Court in Jerusalem before the hearing of a petition filed by two bereaved families against reconciliation with Turkey, July 5, 2016.

The left-wing NGO HaMoked: Center for the Defense of the Individual, last month sent a letter to Supreme Court President Esther Hayut requesting that the court limit the involvement of bereaved families in legal proceedings pertaining to home demolitions, Channel 20 reported this week.

The letter sparked outrage from more than 100 bereaved families from the Choosing Life Forum of Bereaved Families, who called it an outrageous attempt to silence bereaved families.

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HaMoked is heavily funded by European governments and the US-based New Israel Fund, and frequently petitions the High Court of Justice on behalf of terrorists and their families, including the family of the terrorist who murdered IDF soldier Amit Ben Yigal in May.

The Director of HaMoked’s Legal Division, Daniel Shenhar, complained in the letter to Hayut that the presence of the families, who are not a “side in the proceeding,” creates a “problematic impression” for the judges.

Shenhar wrote that the families, “who it seemed were prepped by the organizations accompanying them, spoke directly toward us and about us…[they] looked at us with burning eyes, pointed at us an accusatory finger (not metaphorically), and physically approached us.”

“The things that were said,” continued the letter, “with screams and deafening shouts, were harsh and harmful, and follow us to this day.”

HaMoked also complained that organizations accompanying the bereaved families confront and film HaMoked attorneys outside the courtroom, and later upload those videos online.

The Choosing Life Forum of Bereaved Families called HaMoked’s letter “an outrageous attempt by an anti-Zionist organization to silence bereaved families.”

“Is it not enough that HaMoked spits in our faces by voluntarily defending the terrorists who murdered our loved ones – now they are pouring salt on our open wounds. Have they no shame?” the group stated.

MK Keti Shitrit (Likud) called Shenhar’s letter “shameful” and said it was an attempt to “exclude the bereaved families from the hearings on the terrorists’ punishment.”

MK Ofir Sofer (Yemina) said that “the time has come for the State of Israel and its citizens to reject those who undermine and harm IDF soldiers, and even have the shame to harm bereaved families.”

Matan Peleg, CEO of Im Tirtzu, said: “There is no limit to the chutzpah of this foreign government-funded radical NGO, which stands alongside terrorists and harms bereaved families time and time again.”

The Channel 20 report did not indicate whether or not Supreme Court President Esther Hayut responded to the letter.

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