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Netanyahu rebukes Norway’s foreign minister over the funding of anti-Israel groups

Meeting in Jerusalem on Sunday, the two discussed ways to ensure that humanitarian projects in Gaza are used for their intended purpose.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu seen drinking coffee during a plenum session in the assembly hall of the Israeli parliament on June 17, 2015. Photo by Miriam Alster/Flash90.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu seen drinking coffee during a plenum session in the assembly hall of the Israeli parliament on June 17, 2015. Photo by Miriam Alster/Flash90.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu rebuked Norwegian Foreign Minister Ine Eriksen Soreide when the two met in his office in Jerusalem on Sunday, accusing Norway of overtly funding anti-Israeli activity, Israel Hayom has learned.

Netanyahu and Soreide met in his office for 50 minutes. According to sources who were briefed on the meeting, Netanyahu expressed his outrage over Norway’s funding of anti-Israel groups, such as the Norwegian Refugee Council.

Israel Hayom recently revealed that the Oslo-based Norwegian Refugee Council, one of the largest and best-known nonprofit humanitarian organizations in the world, was behind a slew of petitions to Israel’s High Court of Justice against the Israeli government. The group operates in 31 countries, but seems to focus disproportionately on Israel.

According to NGO Monitor, a watchdog group that promotes greater transparency for foreign-funded Israeli nongovernmental organizations, one of NRC’s main projects in Israel works under the guise of providing “information, counseling, and legal assistance,” but exploits judicial frameworks to manipulate Israeli policy and bypass democratic frameworks.

The watchdog’s website quotes an unnamed lawyer affiliated with the NRC program as saying that the stated objective is an attempt to “try every possible legal measure to disrupt the Israeli judicial system. … As many cases as possible are registered and as many cases as possible are appealed to increase the workload of the courts and the High Court to such an extent that there will be a blockage.”

According to the sources, Netanyahu asked Soreide to “stop funding NGOs that attack Zionism and the State of Israel.” He also said that “having one country take on another country in such a manner is just unacceptable.”

In response, Soreide assured that her country was not engaged in anti-Israeli activity, but in humanitarian relief.

Netanyahu also discussed various regional issues and the situation in the Gaza Strip with Soreide.

The two agreed to expand bilateral cooperation on innovation, with a particular emphasis on digitization in the health-care industry. They also discussed ways to ensure that humanitarian projects in Gaza are used for their intended purpose.

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