Israel moving to dissolve Ra’am-affiliated NGOs over terror funding

The two organizations were identified as Aid 48, and the Humanitarian Acts Association.

By Pesach Benson, TPS

Israeli authorities are moving to dissolve two non-profit organizations associated with the Ra’am political party over funds being transferred to terror organizations, the Israel Corporations Authority announced on Tuesday.

The two organizations were identified as the Islamic Association for Orphans and the Needy, also known as Aid 48, and the Humanitarian Acts Association. Both are based in Kafr Qassem, near Tel Aviv.

“As a result of findings that came to light in the inspection procedures, there was concern about improper conduct – including, concern that the associations transferred funds or cooperated with organizations outside of Israel that were declared as terrorist organizations, concern about the use of assets not to promote the goals of the association, and more,” the Corporations Authority, which regulates Israeli non-profits, said.

Israel’s Kan News recently reported that one of the non-profits bank accounts was blocked by Bank Leumi with one of the bank’s attorneys saying funds were transferred “to associations that we know are Hamas associations.”

The original complaint was filed by Choosing Life, a forum of hundreds of Israeli families of terror victims.

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Herzl Hajaj, who leads the forum, told The Press Service of Israel, “Those non-profits mask themselves as providers of assistance to those in need. Should I remind you, twenty or so years ago, Hamas also started as a civil organization that claimed to provide services to those in need. It’s the same with Aid 48.”

Hajaj’s daughter, Shir, and three other soldiers were killed in a 2017 truck-ramming attack in Jerusalem.

He added, “What we managed to investigate and prove, is that Ra’am transferred hundreds of thousands of shekels and dollars through Aid 48 to different associations in Judea and Samaria and Gaza that are declared as terrorist organizations by the Ministry of Defense and the IDF. We proved that they transferred money to them.”

“The thought that a party that financially supports terrorism entered the Israeli parliament and even formed the basis for the formation of a government should worry every Israeli,” Choosing Life said.

Ra’am, an Arab acronym for the United Arab List, traces its roots back to the Muslim Brotherhood, a transnational Islamic movement designated as a terror group in several countries.

Hamas is the Brotherhood’s Palestinian branch while the Islamic Movement was founded as the Israeli branch. The Islamic Movement split in 1996 over the issue of participating in Israeli elections.

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The Southern Branch, regarded as more pragmatic, is active in Israeli politics.

Its party, Ra’am, has five seats in the Israeli Knesset. It supported the formation of Naftali Bennett and Yair Lapid’s government in 2021, the first time an Israeli-Arab party ever formally backed a governing coalition.

The Northern Branch, led by Sheikh Raed Salah, was outlawed in Israel in 2015 over its close ties with Hamas and the Muslim Brotherhood.