Foreign Ministry
Foreign Ministry Flash 90

Attorney Avihai Buaron from the Lavi organization turned today to Deputy Foreign Minister Tzipi Hotovely with a demand to stop foreign ministry funds from enabling a flight of members of the Minerva Center to the international Criminal Court (ICC) in The Hague.

The Minerva Center for Human Rights works with the Shatil organization of the New Israel Fund in the Hebrew University of Jerusalem and grants scholarships to students volunteering in radical-left organizations.

One of the conspicuous supporters of the Minerva Center is the Israeli foreign ministry, which appears on Minerva’s website as one of the more generous supporters of the Center.

In light of this, Buaron turned, in the name of the Lavi organization, to the foreign ministry, demanding that it cease funding the Center. Several days later, an announcement from Deputy Foreign Minister Tzipi Hotovely was published which claimed that “the foreign ministry never funded this organization which, under guise of academic activity, advances a political agenda in conjunction with radical groups.” Additional official statements from the foreign ministry similarly repeated the claim that the foreign ministry does not support the Minerva Center.

However, from documents obtained recently by the Lavi organization from the Hebrew University, it is readily apparent that the foreign ministry has, indeed, supported the Minerva Center for several years, and funds every year a delegation of students from the Minerva Center to the ICC in the Hague.

According to the Hebrew University, the Israeli foreign ministry obtains plane tickets every year for 6 members of a student delegation from the Minerva Center, enabling them to fly to the ICC in the Hague.

Foreign ministry support for members of Minerva is particularly absurd in light of Minerva’s support for organizations that work to subvert the public relations activities of the State of Israel. For example, in October the Chairman of B’tselem, an organization which Minerva supports, spoke at the UN Security Council, calling on the Council to take strong action against Israel.

The official reply of the Hebrew University, which stands in opposition to official replies received from the foreign ministry, raises the suspicion that the definition of “support” held to by the foreign ministry is obscure enough that the purchase of the plane tickets can be portrayed in a way that enables it to slip under the ministry’s radar.

Lavi, which works for proper administration in Israel, said: “We expect the Deputy Foreign Minister to immediately instruct an end to the funding of the delegation from the Minerva Center to the ICC in The Hague, as well as an in-depth check that will locate the ‘hidden’ clause on funding which allows for this unbelievable support.”

The foreign ministry told Arutz Sheva, “The foreign ministry, together with the education ministry and the Hebrew University, sends students to represent Israel at the ICC Moot Court Competition in The Hague. There is nothing wrong with this. The ministry does not support in any way the activities of the Minerva Center.”

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