November 4, 2011
In his annual report, State Comptroller Micha Lindenstrauss says that the State of Israel financed commendations to six Israeli Arab passengers on the Mavi Marmara terror ship in 2010. The commendations, which cost a total of NIS 5,000 ($1380), were presented by the Israeli Arab Ta’al party, and were purchased with moneys received from the State of Israel
A week after the flotilla, United Arab List-Ta’al Chairman MK Ibrahim Sarsur granted six commemorative plaques worth a total of NIS 5,000 ($1,380) to MK Hanin Zoabi (Balad), Islamic Movement leader Sheikh Ra’ad Salah and others.
That’s Salah in the picture at the top (second from left).
According to the report, which examined the state’s political party funding, the faction paid NIS 5,000 to buy the brass plaques, for the activists who took part in the flotilla on which IDF soldiers were brutally attacked and nine Turks were killed.
They listed the plaques as an expense aimed at keeping in touch with the party’s supporters, as they were given out to well known people who represent an extensive section of the Arab Israeli sector.
The Comptroller noted in the report that the funds should never have been used to purchase the plaques and that their purchase could not be included in the “keeping in touch with the voters” clause as they were given as personal gifts directly to a small number of people. He added that their purchase from the public was illegitimate.
This is a case in which not only were public funds misappropriated, they were also uses to honor a group of people who took part in a flotilla against Israel.
MK Sarsur said he was summoned to the State Comptroller’s office where he was told that he used the funds contrary to state procedure. “I told them that there was no clause forbidding what we did,” the MK told Ynet.
He added that “the flotilla participants took steps in line with social and political activity and their stance is justified, a kind of defense of values.” Sarsur stressed that he did not regret his actions.
As long as Israel’s Arab community continues to elect the likes of Sarsur and Hanin Zoabi as its representatives to the Knesset, Israeli Jews will continue to be suspicious about which side Israel’s Arab take and whether they’d rather live with the ‘Palestinians.’