update deskIsrael News

Shin Bet asked to delay closure of terror-linked Ra’am charities

The security agency urged the Justice Ministry to delay the announcement until after Ramadan for fear of violence.

Shin Bet Director Ronen Bar speaks at the annual Cyber Week at Tel Aviv University, June 27, 2023. Photo by Avshalom Sassoni/Flash90.
Shin Bet Director Ronen Bar speaks at the annual Cyber Week at Tel Aviv University, June 27, 2023. Photo by Avshalom Sassoni/Flash90.

The Israel Security Agency (Shin Bet) pressed the Justice Ministry to delay proceedings to close down two terror-linked nonprofits controlled by the Islamist Ra’am Party, Israel Hayom reported on Wednesday.

According to the report, officials in the internal security service urged Israeli Corporations Authority head Shuli Avni Shoham to delay the announcement until after Ramadan out of fear it would trigger unrest.

The Corporations Authority is an agency within the Justice Ministry.

Igatha 48 (“Aid 48”) and the Association for Humanitarian Actions are both fundraising arms of the Southern Branch of the Islamic Movement in Israel, of which the Ra’am Party is the political wing. (“Ra’am” is the Hebrew acronym by which the United Arab List is commonly known.)

According to the Justice Ministry, an investigation found evidence that the NGOs illegally “transferred funds or cooperated with organizations outside of Israel that were declared as terrorist groups.”

“The Registrar of Associations Unit has decided to refuse the requests of the associations to be granted a certificate of proper management for 2024,” the Corporations Authority said in an announcement Tuesday.

“The associations were given the opportunity to respond to the findings detailed in the report and to the notice given in their case by May 6. If they fail to do so, the Registrar will apply to the court for an order to dissolve the associations,” the statement continued.

According to an investigation published in February, Igatha 48 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 more than $580,000 to Khir Ummah, and the two organizations hosted pro-terrorism summer programs for children in Turkey, the HaKol HaYehudi outlet revealed.

During a Knesset National Security Committee meeting earlier this month, Herzl Hajaj, whose daughter was killed in a 2017 terrorist attack, accused Israeli officials of refusing to investigate for political reasons.

“Unfortunately, there are political and security officials who do not want to investigate Ra’am’s charities in order to leave them an option to form a future government with Ra’am,” he said.

HaKol HaYehudi charged at the time, “Either the Shin Bet and the police didn’t notice these things—this would be a major omission—or they found the materials but protected Ra’am’s people, and no investigations were opened against senior Ra’am officials and Igatha 48.”

During the Knesset hearing, a Shin Bet representative said he could not comment on the matter. The State Attorney’s Office did not send a representative to the meeting.

The Shin Bet did not respond to JNS’s request for comment on Wednesday, while the Corporations Authority told Israel Hayom that it does not give out details on individual oversight procedures.

Avi Maoz, chairman of the Noam Party, commented on X: “It seems that there are those in the Shin Bet who are still stuck in the [pre-Oct. 7] conception, as if it is the Shin Bet that has a country, and not a country that has the Shin Bet.”

Ismail Haniyeh, Hamas’s Doha-based “political” leader, on Feb. 28 urged the Iran-led “Axis of Resistance” to step up terrorist attacks on Israel during Ramadan, while calling on Palestinians in Jerusalem, Judea and Samaria to storm the Al-Aqsa mosque on the Temple Mount.

During Ramadan, which ended last week, hundreds of thousands of Muslims worshipped largely without incident atop the Mount.

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