Deputy Minister of Defense Eli Ben-Dahan and MK Moti Yogev (Jewish Home), MK Merav Ben-Ari (Kulanu) and MK Miki Zohar (Likud) dispatched a letter this week to Talia Sasson, President of the New Israel Fund, in which they demanded that the Fund cease its support for the “Baladna Association for Arab Youth” organization.
Baladna recently produced a music video inciting against Arabs and members of other minorities who enlist in the Israeli Defense Forces, and calling on minorities to refuse to enlist.
Ben-Ari and Zohar are co-chairs of the Knesset Caucus for Encouraging and Promoting the Enlistment of Minorities to the IDF and Civil Service. The letter was also signed by by leaders of the minorities enlisting in the IDF, including Father Gabriel Nadaf, Sara Zoabi and Mohammad Ka’abiyah.
The letter states that “in the clip, musicians Tamer Nafar and Jowan Safadi protest against the enlistment of Arab youth, Israeli citizens, into military service. We see as extreme and destructive the incitement against minorities who wish to serve in the Israeli Defense Forces, and to integrate themselves into the Israeli society."
"We demand that you both immediately cease funding the 'Baladna Association for Arab Youth' organization, and that you issue a statement categorically and unequivocally condemning the incitement against the minorities serving in the Israeli Defense Forces or Israel’s Civil Service.”
Ka’abiya, a social activist in the Bedouin community encouraging Bedouin youth to enlist in the Israeli Defense Forces, explained: “Enlisting minorities in the Israeli Defense Forces is an existential threat to the organizations and movements working within the Arab community against enlistment; this is because enlisting minorities in the Israeli Defense Forces means integrating the Arab youth into Israeli society, which negates the need for [the organizations], and makes them irrelevant, because they don’t reflect the public’s agenda. This is why they use incitement, fear and encourage harassment against those who enlist, thereby hoping to disconnect them from the Israeli society.”
Deputy Minister Ben-Dahan said: “I demand that the New Israel Fund, which cloaks itself in a Zionist mantle, cease supporting organizations which act against minorities serving in the Israeli Defense Forces and which act to harm them. It is completely unacceptable that funds from the New Israel Fund will go towards harming the core values of the state of Israel and the IDF.”
Matan Peleg, chairman of the "Im Tirtzu" movement, which initiated the establishment of the Caucus for Promoting and Advancing Minority Enlistment, added: “The New Israel Fund supports organizations which promote incitement and harmful speech towards minorities who wish to take an active part in Israeli society and in the Israeli Defense Forces."
"The NIF, which claims to promote equality and Jewish-Arab coexistence, does exactly the opposite when it supports and funds anti-Zionist organizations such as the 'Baladna Association for Arab Youth,' which divides the Arab society in Israel, segregating themselves from the Israeli public, instead of bringing the two closer together.”
Arutz Sheva asked the New Israel Fund to respond to the accusations and will publish such a response if and when it is received.