Knesset Committee Discusses Reports Islamic Movement in Israel Transfers Aid to Hamas

By Aryeh Stern

The Knesset’s National Security Committee, chaired by MK Tzvika Foghel (Otzma Yehudit), discussed on Monday a motion for a quick debate on the topic of “Support of the Southern Faction of the Islamic Movement for the Hamas terrorist organization,” submitted by several MKs.

In the request, the MKs stated that an investigation conducted by the HaKol HaYehudi website and the Israeli Public Broadcasting Corporation found that an Israeli body that is operating in the State of Israel and which has political representation in the Knesset – Ra’am – is providing financial assistance, directly and indirectly, to the Hamas terror organization, systematically and on a large scale. The request further stated that over the past few years, the Aid 48 non-profit organization, which is affiliated with the Islamic Movement’s Southern Faction, has transferred financial aid to a number of bodies that have been declared by the Ministry of Defense as terror organizations that are affiliated with Hamas and operate in Gaza, Yehudah and Shomron, and Turkey. “Unfortunately, the law enforcement bodies are not addressing the matter in a way that is congruent with its urgency and with the threats it presents to Israel’s security,” the MKs wrote.

Committee Chair MK Foghel said, “What are we, suicidal? Is this a system we are not aware of? This issue is important. The goal is to recommend to the relevant bodies what needs to be done so that we may deal with this phenomenon.”

MK Limor Sonn Har Melech said the debate was about a party in the Knesset that maintains contact with Hamas through its associations. “The Southern Faction has two arms – the Ra’am party and its NGOs, including Aid 48 an others. The ties between its associations and Hamas are exposed time and time again. How can this still be going on and Ra’am continues to run for the Knesset?” she said.

Toward the end of the meeting, MK Sonn Har Melech added: “We raised the problem but, unfortunately, we did not get any answers during the debate. We will not remain silent and we will demand serious responses in order to cope with this insane and dangerous phenomenon.”

MK Naor Shiri (Yesh Atid) said, “The Government of Israel has created a conduit for the institutional transfer of funds to the Hamas terror group. If we speak out against the party, then we must also speak out against the government.”

MK Yitzchak Kroizer (Otzma Yehudit) said, “There is a direct connection between the parties that are supposed to represent the Arab citizens of the state; parties that support terror not only indirectly, but with active measures as well. Everything is on the table, filmed and documented, but there is no response from anyone in the country.”

MK Ariel Kallner said, “This is a matter of life and death. We have been engaged in a daily war against terror for years, and we are currently at war [with Hamas]. How can it be that an NGO transfers funds to Hamas as an ideology and is associated with a party that sits in the Knesset? This intolerable reality goes against all reason.”

Yehuda Pearl of Hakol HaYehudi said that the news website’s investigation found that Aid 48 has transferred hundreds of thousands of dollars to the Hamas organization’s NGO in Turkey, and also exposed connections various NGOs and individuals maintain with Ra’am. “There are two possibilities here: There is either a fiasco here – that the Shin Bet and the police did not see and did not know, or they saw and know but it is a challenge for them,” Pearl said.

Superintendent Gabi Biton, the Israel Police’s representative in the Ministry of National Security, said, “We combat terror financing whenever it arrives at our doorstep. There are many things that are not made public. We operate overtly and covertly. There are quite a few investigations and measures that are being taken with the various partners and bodies against those who receive funds and finance terror, not only in Israel. This is a complex issue.”

Adv. Lilach Vagner of the Ministry of Justice noted that the State Attorney’s Office files indictments after it receives material at the conclusion of investigations, in accordance with the Counter-Terrorism Law.

Committee Chair MK Foghel said in summation, “If even 10% of the figures are correct and a civilian, child or soldier was killed as a result of the transfer of aid that supports incitement, then something is rotten here. Unfortunately, we have not received answers from any element, and this demands an in-depth follow-up debate. It cannot be that the Israeli public’s money is being used to finance terror that harms us. It is akin to suicide. We will hold a debate in which we will demand answers from all the relevant bodies.”

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