Justice Minister Amir Ohana (Likud) has banned a senior official in the Justice Ministry from attending a conference of the far-left organization "The Association for Civil Rights in Israel (ACRI)"
Ohana sent a firm letter to Attorney Awaka 'Kobe' Zena, the head of the government unit for coordinating the fight against racism, after he learned that Zena would attend the organization's International Day for the Fight against Racism.
"The Civil Rights Association has a distinct political character, and with its activities funds terrorist protection," Minister Ohana wrote.
Ohana said the organization is funded by the EU and the New Israel Fund, among other sources. "To the best of my knowledge, you have approved your participation in the organization's annual conference without the approval of the office's management. There is no room for your participation in this conference and I order you not to attend."
"Only the political rank will appear at events that have a political nature. The professional rank will not appear in political events - on either side of the political map. This is to maintain the political neutrality of the Justice Ministry, its employees and its administrators, ' Ohana explained.
The Justice Minister has instructed the ministry's director general to formulate a comprehensive directive for the participation of the professional echelons in events of a political nature, so that the ministry's neutrality is maintained.
In 1992, former Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin called the ACRI the "Association for Rights of Hamas."
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scoop re Justice Minister Amir Ohana
Sheri OzMar 5, 2020, 8:41 PM (10 hours ago)
to [email protected], me
Rochel Sylvetsky suggested I send you the article I put together from a scoop received a short time ago regarding an ACRI conference scheduled to be held next week. Ohana has just sent a sharply worded letter to the professional staff member who accepted the invitation, telling him in no uncertain terms not to go. The article is copied below this short introduction and I am attaching the original letter from the Minister as well as the letter that was sent to him by the organization "Choosing Life" and the schedule for the conference. I have an email from the spokesperson at the Justice Ministry if you would also like to see that.
Thank-you so much,
Justice Minister Amir Ohana has just forbidden a senior staff member of the Justice Ministry to attend a conference run by the Association for Civil Rights in Israel (ACRI) scheduled for March 12. This evening, Minister Ohana sent a letter to Attorney Awaka Zena, head of the government unit for the fight against racism, telling him not to go to the event. In contrast to Minister Ohana’s letter to Zena, the Ministry spokeperson’s office claimed in an email to Israel National News earlier today that this is a legitimate non-political event that showcases the work of the unit in which Zena works.
Zena was scheduled to speak at the event in which awards for human rights activism will be given to the NGO, Salametcom (In English, Be Healthy) and to Attorney Itay Mack. Salametcom helps Palestinians receiving medical treatment in Israeli hospitals and Itay Mack works to prevent the sale of Israeli military equipment to other countries and helps represent Palestinians who have been harmed by Israeli security forces.
Upon seeing the conference program, Bassem Eid, a Palestinian who, in 1992, received ACRI recognition for his work remarked: “This is all about Israel. Why does ACRI turn a blind eye to the violations of the PA against the Palestinian people?”
In fact, it is likely that ACRI would not give Eid an award today. He lost credibility in B’tselem with whom he once worked when he wanted them to deal with human rights offences committed on the part of the Palestinian Authority as well as Israel.
In a sharply worded letter addressed to Attorney Awaka Zena, he wrote that ACRI is clearly political “...and within the framework of its activities it defends terrorists. Highly controversial,” the letter continues, “the late Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin called it ‘The Association for the Rights of Hamas’”.
Minister Ohana wrote that political events are to be attended only by political officials, not by professionals working in the ministry. In that way, Ohana claimed, the necessary neutrality of the ministry will be maintained. In one of his points, Ohana wrote: “There is no place for you to participate in this event and I order you to desist from going.”
The letter was written in response to a request sent to Minister Ohana by “Choosing Life”, an NGO for bereaved parents and signed by 120 of its members.
Choosing Life sent an identical letter to the Minister of Labor, Social Affairs and Social Services Ofir Akunis. He has yet to respond. Israel National News is still waiting for a comment from the ministry spokesperson.