The Knesset will discuss Wednesday a motion by MK Faina Kirshenbaum (Yisrael Beiteinu), who is calling for a parliamentary investigation on the funding of leftist organizations in Israel, especially those filing lawsuits against IDF officers.
Kirshenbaum has garnered the support of much of the right wing, in addition to a number of Kadima MKs, for her motion. It calls on the government to probe who is really behind the organizations monitoring IDF operations in the West Bank.
Machsom Watch women in West Bank (Photo: Machsom Watch)
Yisrael Beiteinu, Shas, United Torah Judaism, Likud, National Union, and Habayit Hayehudi have all announced that they will vote in favor of establishing an investigation committee to this end.
Kirshenbaum wants the committee to include Yesh Din, Machsom Watch, B'tselem, Adallah, Breaking the Silence, and others in its probe.
"The Israeli organizations' operations severely harm Israel's legitimacy throughout the world," Kirshenbaum said. "The cooperation between Israeli and global organizations to hurt the IDF, its soldiers, and its commanders must be investigated and stopped."
Kirshenbaum added that most of the organizations were being funded by "international, anti-Zionist agencies" as well as a number of foreign countries.
Her motion says a coalition of international organizations has been working under the guise of human rights advocacy in order to take away the IDF's legitimacy in the West Bank, encourage draft-dodging, and label soldiers and commanders war criminals.
Lawsuits have already been filed against a number of IDF officers in different countries throughout the world, the motion says, suggesting that links between the lawsuits and Israeli organizations can be proved.
Hagai El-Ad, who heads the Association for Civil Rights in Israel, compared the desired Knesset committee to that which investigated Senator Joe McCarthy in the US in the 1950s.
In a statement published by ACRI in the names of 16 rights organizations, El-Ad said McCarthyism in the US ended in a "witch-hunt" against suspected communists.
Breaking the Silence, for its part, said all of its financial sources were documented "with full transparency" online. "We would like it if Yisrael Beiteinu's website could enlighten us as to the funding received by Avigdor Lieberman, who is currently being investigated by police," the group said.
Machsom Watch was also up in arms. "We are all patriots. Lieberman will not teach us about the love of our country," a statement from the women said, while B'tselem also boasted "full transparency", adding that "political persecution will not stop us".
Hannah (75), a Machsom Watch activist, even said IDF officers are happy with the organization's presence at military checkpoints.
Hannah comes at least once a week to one of the checkpoints in the West Bank, arriving early in the morning. Hundreds of Palestinians waiting to pass are already familiar with this energetic Israeli who, unlike her soldier compatriots, is completely unarmed.
"Our purpose is to prevent in advance any abuse at the checkpoints," she says. "It's not easy coping with the bureaucracy, but sometimes we manage to make a difference and assist the Palestinians."
Hannah notes the issues raised by many Palestinian workers who talk with her freely. The notes are written up into a report which is submitted to Machsom Watch and posted on the internet.
Soldiers' responses vary. Some treat the Machsom Watch volunteers with contempt, but some admire the women's work. "We greatly esteem the Machsom Watch activists," one soldier said to Army Radio on Monday.
The volunteers maintain ongoing communication with the Civil Administration and even with the army. "Some people say we disturb the soldiers, but the commanders are actually happy (with what we do)," Hannah says.
Roni Shaked contributed to this report.