update deskIsrael News

Court upholds freeze on accounts of terror-linked Ra’am charity

The Tel Aviv District Court ruled that Israel's Bank Leumi had presented sufficient evidence substantiating alleged terror financing by the Igatha 48 Association.

Mansour Abbas. Credit: Avshalom Sassoni/Flash90.
Mansour Abbas. Credit: Avshalom Sassoni/Flash90.

The Tel Aviv District Court on Tuesday rejected a request to unfreeze bank accounts belonging to a charity controlled by the Islamist Ra’am Party, ruling that Israel’s Bank Leumi had presented sufficient evidence substantiating alleged terror financing by the Igatha 48 Association.

Igatha 48 (“Aid 48”) is the fundraising arm of the Southern Branch of the Islamic Movement in Israel, of which Ra’am is the political wing. (“Ra’am” is the Hebrew acronym by which the United Arab List party is commonly known.)

According to an investigation published in February, the organization transferred large sums to and carried out joint activities with a Turkish organization called Khir Ummah, which serves as a Hamas front group.

Between 2020 and 2023, Igatha 48 transferred over $580,000 to Khir Ummah, and the two organizations also hosted pro-terror summer programs for children in Turkey, the HaKol HaYehudi outlet revealed.

In response to the HaKol HaYehudi expose, Bank Leumi—Israel’s largest bank—froze the organization’s accounts. During the subsequent court proceedings, which took place last week, lawyers for the bank said the red flags surrounding Igatha 48 were “shocking.”

The Ra’am charity acknowledged in court that close to 10 banks had refused to open accounts for it before it applied to Bank Leumi.

On Tuesday, Tel Aviv District Judge Limor Bibi denied the injunction against the bank sought by Igatha 48 and ordered the organization to pay court fees amounting to 15,000 shekel ($4,000) within 30 days.

Choosing Life, a forum of terror victims and bereaved families, stated, “As we claimed and provided proof of from the very beginning, Ra’am and its associations cooperate with the Hamas terrorist organization,” calling on the government to prosecute Igatha 48 officials.

“In addition, we call on all the Zionist parties in the Knesset to draw a red line against forming a future government with Ra’am and to make an unequivocal moral statement that supporters of terrorism are not welcome,” added the statement.

During a meeting of the Knesset National Security Committee last week, a HaKol HaYehudi reporter told lawmakers that “the materials that we found and compiled in a special research report are from open sources.

“Either the Israel Security Agency and the police do not notice these things—this would be a major omission—or they located the materials but protected Ra’am’s people, and no investigations were opened against Ra’am’s senior officials and Igatha 48,” charged Yehuda Perl.

The Ra’am Party played a central role in the Bennett-Lapid government, which served in 2021 and 2022, marking the first time an Israeli Arab party had joined a governing coalition.

Ra’am chairman Mansour Abbas told Arab media recently that he has been advocating for the unilateral recognition of a Palestinian state in meetings with U.S. officials and representatives of other countries.

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