Sheik Raed Salah - Twist to Friday sermons?
Photo: Dudi Vaaknin
Transportation Minister Shaul Mofaz
Photo: Amit Shabi

Plans to recruit Sheikh Salah to fight car accidents canceled

Transportation Minister annuls plans to have Sheikh Raed Salah, Arab leader convicted of aiding Hamas, assist Road Safety Authority in campaign against reckless driving in Arab sector

Transportation Minister Shaul Mofaz decided Wednesday to cancel the plans to use controversial Islamic Movement leader Sheikh Raed Salah in the fight against road accidents.


Earlier Wednesday, it was announced that the Road Safety Authority intends to use Salah, who was convicted of working with Hamas and was sentenced to 42 months imprisonment, in its plan to combat car accidents in the Arab sector.


According to the original plan, Salah and religious figures associated with him would preach against reckless driving in their Friday sermons. The Arab sector suffers from a higher rate of road accidents than the Jewish sector.


Officials within the security establishment were outraged at the proposal, calling it "a completely ludicrous idea."


"The State would be hiring a man who works day and night to undermine it, who has been convicted of and served time for aiding Hamas and is suspected of inciting against Israel. It doesn't matter how much influence this dangerous man holds over the Arab community," they said.


'The goal is to save lives'  

Lior Carmel, head of the National Road Safety Authority, said he would call an emergency meeting to discuss Salah's participation in future campaigns. "I was very conflicted over using Salah given his anti-Zionist record. But my belief is that anyone who joins the battle against road accidents and can help save lives, whether Jewish or Arab, should do so – even if it's Raed Salah."


Carmel rejected the original proposal to have Salah lead a multimedia campaign financed by the National Road Safety Authority. He did, however, consent to have his employees contact Salah and coordinate efforts with him.


"The goal is to save lives, everywhere, at any time and through every available means," said a source in Transportation Minister Shaul Mofaz's office, but added that no official request in the matter was made by the Transportation Minister.


If Salah was indeed approached in the matter, added the source, it was done by the National Road Safety Authority. 


Salah himself declined comment on the report, saying only that it was "too early" to discuss the matter.


פרסום ראשון: 09.05.07, 09:42
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