Diplomatic Row With Belgium Over Left-Wing NGO’s

YERUSHALAYIM -

The issue of Belgian funding of left-wing Israeli groups touched off a diplomatic row on Wednesday as Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu instructed the Foreign Ministry to summon the Belgian Ambassador to Israel Olivier Belle for a reprimand.

A statement released Wednesday night by the prime minister’s media adviser read:

“Israel views with utmost gravity Belgian Prime Minister Charles Michel’s meeting today with the leaders of Breaking the Silence and B’Tselem, during his visit to Israel. Initiatives are underway by the Belgian state prosecutor to try senior Israelis including Tzipi Livni and IDF officers.

“The Belgian government needs to decide whether it wants to change direction or continue with an anti-Israel line.

“Prime Minister Netanyahu has directed that legislation be advanced to prevent financing by foreign governments for NGOs that harm IDF soldiers,” the statement concluded.

In a meeting with Michel on Tuesday, Netanyahu asked Michel to put a stop to his government’s funding of leftist NGO’s, which seek to harm Israel and the IDF.

Several arrest warrants have been issued in Belgium against Israeli officials and IDF officers, including MK Tzipi Livni.