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IDF Radio Joins Liel Family's Crusade against NGO Bills?

Military radio interviews diplomat Alon Liel to weigh in on NGO bills, forgets to mention his wife directs NIF.
By Gil Ronen
First Publish: 11/15/2011, 10:57 AM

IDF Radio reporter (file)
IDF Radio reporter (file)
Flash 90

As part of the Israeli press's full-court press against the "NGO bills" that would limit foreign funding of political groups, IDF Radio interviewed MK Zehava Galon of Meretz, and then put Alon Liel, a former diplomat, on the line – but "forgot" to mention his wife's senior position in the New Israel Fund, which would be directly influenced by the bills.

Liel was introduced as "a former senior official in the Foreign Ministry" and was asked about the report that Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman instructed FM employees not to give interviews on the subject of the NGO bills. 

Liel said, as expected, that the bills will isolate Israel and push away its remaining friends in the global arena. 

Neither Liel nor IDF Radio made any mention of the fact that the interviewee's wife, Rachel Liel, is the Director of the New Israel Fund in Israel, a fact that would seem to make him less than objective on the issue. The activity of numerous groups supported by the Fund is expected to take a major hit if the bills pass their final readings and are not intercepted by the High Court. 

In an e-mail sent out by the NIF, Liel called upon supporters of the NIF to join an all-out effort to block the laws. "The New Israel Fund needs your help today in order to continue to fight for the social change organizations in Israel," she wrote.

Rachel Liel also penned an article in Israel's press recently in which she warned that Israel has a "new spirit that will not tolerate harming civil society organizations, sowing hatred, dividing and separating."

According to Rachel Liel, the ultra-leftist groups – which the New Israel Fund calls "civil society organizations," as opposed to militaristic society – "will stand in the way of those Knesset members who try to perpetuate the evil spirit of yesterday and cultivate a politics of intimidation, of silencing criticism, of advancing a policy of divide and conquer, of harming human rights organizations—and of legislating anti-democratic laws." 

The Liels' daughter Dafna served in IDF Radio and is currently a reporter for Channel 2 News.