Israel nixes COVID-19 aid to anti-Israel NGOs

The Finance Ministry won’t let anti-Israel groups benefit from a fund set up to help social organizations during the pandemic.

By World Israel News Staff

Finance Minister Yisrael Katz announced on Tuesday evening that organizations that “work against the interests of the state” will not be eligible to receive aid from the new aid fund for civil society organizations.

On Tuesday, Arutz 7 reported that Finance Minister Katz and Labor and Social Affairs Minister Itzik Shmuli set up a fund to assist social organizations negatively impacted by COVID-19.

The fund will provide grants from NIS 10,000 to NIS 400,000 to nonprofit organizations that work with “populations in need of assistance” and whose income suffered by more than 25 percent.

According to the criteria of the fund, organizations that work with illegal migrant workers were listed as being eligible for the grant, sparking sharp criticism led by the pro-Israel watchdog group Im Tirtzu and prominent south Tel-Aviv social activist Sheffi Paz.

Tens of thousands of illegal African migrant workers currently reside in Israel, the majority of whom live in south Tel Aviv. The state has long been searching for a solution for this issue but has faced sharp pushback by civil society organizations, many of which are funded by European governments and the U.S.-based New Israel Fund.

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Amid the criticism, Katz’s office issued a statement that organizations who work against the state will not be eligible for state aid.

Katz immediately ordered a halt to the issuance of permits “and to ensure that there are no anti-Israel groups in the list,” said the statement.

Im Tirtzu CEO Matan Peleg welcomed the decision and said that “public funds have no business going toward organizations that work against the State of Israel.”

The decision was also welcomed by residents of south Tel Aviv, who say that the illegal migrant workers have made their lives unbearable given the rise in crime and drugs in their neighborhoods.

Coincidentally, in the U.S. too, anti-Israel groups are cashing in on coronavirus relief funds, public records show.

The Washington Free Beacon reports that the far-left Middle East advocacy group J Street and the National Iranian American Council (NIAC), a pro-Tehran group central to Iran’s propaganda efforts in America, both accepted loans from the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP).