Israel in the News Nov/Dec 2016

World Vision Shuts Gaza Office After Worker Indicted for Diverting Millions to Hamas
World Vision, an American-based Christian charity, has shut down its Gaza office, laid off 120 Gaza employees, and canceled its projects in the region after Israel indicted its Gaza manager for allegedly funneling $7 million a year to Hamas, with $1.5 million a year going directly to combat units.

The Shin Bet, Israel’s security agency, said Mohammed El Halabi secretly transferred 60 percent of Gaza’s World Vision funds to the terrorist organization. It said El Halabi admitted his guilt under interrogation and revealed he has belonged to Hamas since his youth.

“According to El Halabi, he established and promoted fictitious humanitarian projects that acted as a cover for the transfer of people’s goodwill donations to Hamas,” the Embassy of Israel wrote in its official statement. The funds enabled Hamas to “build a base, expand its terror tunnel network, pay salaries to terrorists, and even purchase weapons,” Arutz-7 reported.

El Halabi’s lawyer, however, told Haaretz El Halabi claims innocence and denies any links to Hamas. Attorney Nitsana Darshan-Leitner, president of Israeli legal advocacy group Shurat HaDin, said she informed World Vision four years ago that its funds were being diverted to terrorists in Gaza. World Vision responded in 2012 by saying it “found no evidence substantiating the allegations.”

The Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs also warned more than a year ago that World Vision was assisting Hamas: “World Vision is promoting an anti-Israel narrative in order to obscure the role of Hamas in creating a humanitarian crisis in the Gaza Strip.”

The court case is to be held in secret, Agence France-Presse reported.

From news reports

Priests Training for Third Temple
The Temple Institute in Jerusalem has opened a school to train men believed to be from the tribe of Levi as priests in preparation for service in a third Temple, Israel Today reported. “The prayer to establish the temple has no meaning if we don’t actually prepare for it,” said Rabbi Yehoshua Friedman, director of the school, reported usnews.com. Ten students are enrolled for twice-weekly lessons, but Friedman expects the school to train hundreds of priests, usnews.com said.

Friedman said the priests will also make use of modern technology in the new Temple. “Fruit and grain sacrifices . . . could now be mixed in a mixer. I wrote a suggestion to build an electric oven to roast the Passover sacrifice,” he said, reported usnews.com. To read more, visit tinyurl.com/hf9yw9o.

UN Aid Funds Hamas
One week after Israel’s indictment of World Vision’s Gaza worker for funneling funds to Hamas, Israeli police arrested UN worker Wahid Abdallah Borsh of Gaza for transferring UN aid money to Hamas, Arutz-7 reported. According to Israeli politician Avi Dichter, nearly all UN aid workers in Gaza are members of Hamas, The Times of Israel reported. Donors of Gaza aid live in a “naïve world,” he said, for believing their funds help the needy instead of terrorists.

Record-Breaking Number of Aid Trucks Enter Gaza
A whopping 88,800 trucks carrying humanitarian goods passed from Israel to the Hamas-controlled Gaza Strip in the first half of 2016, breaking all records, The Algemeiner reported. This is due “partially to the thawing of relations between Israel and Turkey,” said The Algemeiner. Israel has been encouraging Turkish aid to Gaza. Turkey “recently transferred funds to Gaza for 11 different projects, among them the erection of mosques, orphanages and community centers,” the newspaper said. Despite Hamas’s attempts to smuggle in materials for terrorism, Israel imposed no restrictions on the number of trucks allowed to enter Gaza from Israel.

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