MKs: Why is Be’er Sheva Teaming Up With Anti-Israel Group?

YERUSHALAYIM -
Jewish Home MK Bezalel Smotrich. (Miriam Alster/Flash90)
Jewish Home MK Betzalel Smotrich. (Miriam Alster/Flash90)

Jewish Home MK Betzalel Smotrich has joined with officials in the Be’er Sheva city administration to oppose a program that the international group Physicians for Human Rights is set to run in the city, in cooperation with the city. According to Smotrich, “this organization claims to work on behalf of human rights, but 96 percent of its activity applies only to Arab residents of Palestinian Authority-controlled territories in Yehudah and Shomron.” In addition, he said, the group almost “reflexively” defends terrorists and anti-Israel activists.

The group is set to begin a course for area residents in how to achieve “medical justice” for poor and disadvantaged people, teaching members of the course about laws that they could take advantage of and how to organize in order to achieve equitable health care. The course is being partially funded by the city of Be’er Sheva. But in a letter to Be’er Sheva Mayor Rurik Danilovich, Smotrich said that he had been contacted by members of the mayor’s administration who were very upset over the project.

According to Gadi Mazuz, a member of the Be’er Sheva City Council, many employees of the municipality are up in arms over the program. “I have no problem with groups trying to ensure the health of the population, but it cannot be done with a group that fights against our soldiers,” he added.

“It should be remembered that this group submitted false information about IDF activities during Operation Cast Lead as part of the Goldstone report, and it also participated in prosecuting an IDF soldier at the International Criminal Court in the Hague,” Smotrich said in the letter. “It is shocking to me that the city would hold joint events with this group and transfer money to it. During Operation Protective Edge, as Be’er Sheva was under a barrage of rocket attacks from Gaza, this group spent considerable effort to condemn IDF soldiers for defending Israel.”