Peace Now ‘Caught in the Act’

An official of Peace Now, a political lobby group, was photographed Tuesday escorting US officials and taking pictures in Samaria.

Tzvi Ben Gedalyahu, | updated: 14:12

Hagit Ofran (left) and in her car with US off
Hagit Ofran (left) and in her car with US off
Israel news photo: David HaIvri

Hagit Ofran, an official of the political lobby group Peace Now, was photographed Tuesday escorting U.S. officials and taking pictures at the Jewish community of Revava in Samaria.

American officials declined to comment and referred questions to the Consulate spokeswoman, who so far has not returned a phone inquiry.

Ofran, granddaughter of the late Israeli philosopher Yeshayahu Leibowich, often travels to Jewish communities in Judea to document construction of Jewish homes, which Peace Now opposes.

She hid her face after seeing that she was being photographed by Samaria Liaison Council director David Ha'Ivri, who greeted her with a “hello.”

HaIvri also saw her with Jonathan Cullen, a political officer with the Consulate. Ha'Ivri, whose group is an official Samaria government agency, previously has traveled with Cullen to explain to him facts that had not been known to American officials, such as the relations between Jewish employers and Arab workers and the extent of Jewish industrial development in Judea and Samaria.

Ha'Ivri told Israel National News that he asked Cullen, “What are you doing—spying on us?” Cullen replied, "We are just visiting.”

Ha'Ivri said to INN, "We give the United States information they did not know” about Jewish life in Judea and Samaria, "and we have nothing to hide. Now they come back with a political group.”

INN tried to ask the U.S. Consulate in Jerusalem if the same escort privileges would be granted to nationalist lobby groups, but no one was available for comment. Cullen, as well as a U.S. Embassy spokesman in Tel Aviv, referred all questions to the Consulate.

Tuesday was not the first time Ofran has had to hide her identity or her camera. Global Post’s Fredy Gareis wrote last month, “With a practiced motion, Hagit Ofran hides her camera under the seat, bringing her white SUV to a halt in front of an [IDF] checkpoint."

 




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