Daily TIP

The Daily TIP: Israel’s Ministry of Strategic Affairs: Members of Terror Groups Staff Anti-Israel NGOs

Posted by Tip Staff - February 05, 2019

Israel’s Ministry of Strategic Affairs: Members of Terror Groups Staff Anti-Israel NGOs
Pope, Chief Rabbi of Poland Arrive in UAE as Part of Interfaith Initiative
Israel Set to Deduct Amount of "Pay to Slay" Program from Taxes Collected for the PA
New Fund Encourages Investing in Israel Through Wine, Art, and Music

Israel’s Ministry of Strategic Affairs: Members of Terror Groups Staff Anti-Israel NGOs

An Israeli government report charges that staffers at some of the most prominent organizations and NGOs advocating boycotts of Israel are also members of terrorist groups, The Times of Israel reported Sunday.

The report, Terrorists in Suits, which was released by Israel's Ministry of Strategic Affairs, charged that a number of high-profile staffers at NGOs that promote the Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions (BDS) campaign are tied to the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP) and other terror groups.

The report highlights the role of Leila Khaled in promoting BDS. Khaled, who was involved in the armed hijackings of planes in 1969 and 1970, is a frequent promoter of anti-Israel boycotts in Europe and South Africa.

Khaled, according to the report, has been “coordinating between a PFLP command center in Syria and operatives in Jerusalem planning lethal attacks against Israelis,” even as she was in South Africa raising money to fund the BDS movement.

In 2017, Khaled was barred from entering Italy due to an invalid visa. In December of last year, Germany pressured the Palestinian mission in Berlin to remove a post promoting terrorism that featured a picture of Khaled.

In addition to the BDS ties to the PFLP, the ministry's report found that the Palestine Solidarity Campaign (PSC), which is active in the United Kingdom and Europe, "has ties to Hamas operatives such as Muhammad Sawalha and Zaher Birawi.”

Members of American Muslims for Palestine (AMP), a pro-BDS tax-exempt group in the United States, have been involved “directly and indirectly, in providing funding assistance to Hamas,” according to the report.

Following the release of the Israeli government report, NGO Monitor noted on Facebook, "In recent years, and based on NGO Monitor’s findings, Denmark, the Netherlands, and Switzerland issued clear guidelines preventing funding for these NGOs."

Pope, Chief Rabbi of Poland Arrive in UAE as Part of Interfaith Initiative

Pope Francis arrived Sunday in the United Arab Emirates for the first-ever visit by a pontiff to the Arabian Peninsula, The Times of Israel reported. This comes at a critical time, as the country is stepping up its interfaith efforts with the non-Muslim world.

The Pope landed in Abu Dhabi, where he was greeted by Crown Prince Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed al-Nahyan, and embarked upon a two-day visit to the UAE capital.

He gave his first public speech on Monday afternoon at a meeting with Muslim, Christian, and Jewish leaders, in which Francis called on faith leaders to reject war and extremism. The Pope also participated in a conference on interreligious dialogue sponsored by the Emirates-based Muslim Council of Elders, an initiative that promotes a moderate version of Islam.

While religious freedom is not absolute in the emirate, the UAE interferes little in the private activities of religious minorities, and non-Muslims in the country enjoy a climate of tolerance. Whereas tens of thousands of Middle Eastern Christians have fled their historic homelands due to war and persecution, the number of churches in the UAE has increased sharply from 24 in 2005 to about 40 in 2015.

The highlight of the Pope’s visit will be a giant mass led by Francis on Tuesday in Abu Dhabi’s main sports arena. It is expected to draw some 135,000 people in what some have called the largest show of public Christian worship on the Arabian Peninsula. The UAE is home to more than one million Christians.

The Pope’s visit also comes at a time when the Arab World is increasingly engaging in a rapprochement with the global Jewish community and in particular, Israel. The UAE has been one of the leading exponents of this approach.

Michael Schudrich, the chief rabbi of Poland, who traveled to the UAE for the occasion, said on Sunday that the emergence of a small Jewish community in the country was a ray of hope in the region.

Israel Set to Deduct Amount of "Pay to Slay" Program from Taxes Collected for the PA

Israel’s Diplomatic-Security Cabinet is expected to announce in the coming weeks a major slash in the tax revenues that Israel collects on behalf of the Palestinian Authority, with the amount the PA pays to terrorists and their families to be deducted from the aid Israel hands over to the Palestinian leadership, JNS reported on Monday.

The new legislation, introduced in the Knesset by lawmakers Elazar Stern (Yesh Atid) and Avi Dichter (Likud), overwhelmingly passed the Israeli parliament in July with strong bipartisan support by a vote of 87 to 15.

The bill requires Israel’s Ministry of Defense to provide the cabinet with data on the amount the PA hands out to terrorists and their families. This is referred to as the PA's "pay to slay" program. The Finance Ministry will then deduct that amount from the tax funds. The ministry has not yet specified the amount to be withheld from the PA.

The PA paid out some 502 million shekels ($138 million) to living terrorists in 2018, according to recent Israeli media reports. The Palestinian Media Watch group meanwhile estimates that at least 230 million shekels ($63 million) had been paid to terrorists currently in prison.

Last month, the PA announced that it would reject all U.S. financial aid in protest of a new anti-terrorism law that took effect at the end of January and exposes the PA to costly lawsuits in U.S. courts for its involvement in acts of terror committed against U.S. citizens.

In an op-ed published in JNS on Wednesday, TIP CEO and President Joshua S. Block, observed that “the decision to reject all U.S. aid money means that the P.A. has chosen terror over the well-being of its own civilian population.”

Block added: “Israel is told that it must make sacrifices for peace. In this instance, the P.A. is making a sacrifice so that it doesn’t have to make peace.”

New Fund Encourages Investing in Israel Through Wine, Art, and Music

Adam Scott Bellos founded The Israel Innovation Fund (TIIF) to tantalize young adults with what he calls “cultural foreplay” in the form of Israeli wine, art and music.

“Through cutting-edge contemporary culture, lifestyle and travel, young diaspora Jews and non-Jews are discovering new ways to personally connect to the Israeli experience in ways that go far beyond conflict and survival,” says Bellos, a 32-year-old serial entrepreneur living in Tel Aviv since 2012.

“Our vision is to connect people around the world through the vibrancy and creativity of contemporary Israeli culture by bringing Israel to you and then you to Israel.”

A US-registered nonprofit established in July 2017, TIIF invests in commercially viable cultural projects in Jerusalem, Tel Aviv and various American cities. A portion of the returns are shared with Israeli nonprofits the TIIF team has pegged as innovative, high-impact and efficient.

TIIF’s flagship project is Wine on the Vine, a modern twist on traditional tree planting.

The online purchaser can choose to plant any number of grapevines, at $18 each, in any participating Israeli winery and also chooses a participating charity to benefit from the purchase. Later that year, anyone who bought at least five vines is entitled to goods from the chosen winery.

“My goal is to create a great federation of wineries and an amazing tourism program that creates a trail of our wineries, connecting the whole world to Israel through its wines,” Bellos tells ISRAEL21c.

There are more than 300 wineries in Israel. The TIIF staff has curated a small and growing number (currently 10) “that have a really quality product and story,” says Bellos. “We have to like the wine and the people who make it.”

(via Israel21c)

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