(Israel Hayom/Exclusive to JNS.org) Israeli Agriculture and Rural Development Minister Uri Ariel has instructed Israel’s National Civic Service Authority, which he oversees, to bar two left-wing nongovernmental organizations that were cited in the recently published U.N. Human Rights Council (UNHRC) report on last year’s Gaza war from the Jewish state’s national service program.
The program offers alternative, voluntary service options for those who are unable to serve in the Israel Defense Forces. The NGOs barred from the program include B’Tselem, which was cited in the report 72 times, and the Association for Civil Rights in Israel, quoted four times in the report, with each organization contributing significantly to the report’s accusation that Israel possibly committed war crimes in Gaza. Each group currently has four slots in the service program.
“The very essence of the national service program is to serve the State of Israel,” Ariel said on Tuesday. “I will not abide, under any circumstances, to a delusional reality in which Israel funds the positions of youth that undermine [Israel’s] soldiers.”
Member of Knesset Zehava Gal-On, the leader of Israel’s far-left Meretz party, called the decision “an underhanded trick meant to silence those who don’t toe the [Israeli] government’s line.”
Earlier this week, Anne Herzberg—legal advisor for the NGO Monitor watchdog organization—said that the UNHRC report on Gaza “would be entirely different without the baseless and unverifiable allegations of non-governmental organizations.”