Over the past few months, the Israeli government has piled onto attacks by right-wing NGOs aiming to delegitimize Israeli human rights groups like Breaking the Silence, B’Tselem, and others. An oft-repeated claim is that human rights groups defame Israel abroad.
But these same right-wing NGOs receive more money from the Israeli government than nearly all Israeli human rights groups combined. And these right-wing NGOs are the leaders of the hate mongering of Arabs, incitement against progressives, and dispossession of Palestinian property that diminish Israel’s international standing. This self-destruction of Israel’s reputation costs hundreds of millions of shekels of public, non-transparent, taxpayer funding.
I recently wrote about the hundreds of millions of dollars of hidden donations these settler NGOs receive, exposed by a Peace Now analysis. So here we revisit that report to rank them again in order of public money received…

The Top Six Right-Wing NGOs Funded by the Israeli Government

Im Tirtzu logo6. Im Tirtzu

Taxpayer funds received 2006-2013: NIS 40,000
Percent of taxpayer funds that are hidden: 0%

Im Tirtzu is a grassroots right-wing organization who aims to delegitimize Israeli progressives in academia, civil society, and politics. In 2010, the anti-Semitic nature of its billboard campaign against Naomi Chazan prompted funder Pastor John Hagee of Christians United for Israel to withdraw his funding. In following years, the label “fascist” was upheld by an Israeli court and its founder joined Avigdor Leiberman’s Yisrael Beiteinu party. Most recently, Im Tirtzu launched a video inciting against four Israeli human rights leaders (roundly denounced by American Jewry) and promoted an image of a lynched B’Tselem member.

Im Tirtzu incitement against BTselem
Facebook post by Im Tirtzu depicting a lynched B’Tselem member
Im Tirtzu receives a trickle of public funds, but its nature is revealing. In 2012, Likud MK Limor Livnat was Minister of Culture and Sports and pursuing a campaign of political intimidation and censorship against liberal and Arab views in films, sports teams, and cultural gatherings. What a surprise when her Ministry created a contest to produce a Zionist movie gave a NIS 25,000 award to, you guessed it, Im Tirtzu.

4 and 5. The Samaria Settlers Council and The Binyamin Settlers Association

Binyamin association’s taxpayer funds received 2006-2013: NIS 3.3 million
Percent of taxpayer funds that are hidden: 0%
Samaria council’s total donations 2006-2013: NIS 6.54 million
Percent of taxpayer funds that are hidden: 0%

Im Tirtzu was small potatoes in government funding. Here are two local bodies of the settler movement, which build settlements (42 in Binyamin region, 29 in Samaria region) and lobby the government to expand settlements. Over 9.5 million of their 10 million shekels income between 2006-2013 was granted by the settlements’ own regional governments. This is how Israeli taxpayers’ money is given to private NGOs in order to publicly oppose the two-state solution.
This taxpayer money not only fuels Palestinian dispossession, but also fuels lawlessness and incitement. The Samaria and Benymain settlers councils coined the phrase “price tag attacks.” Earlier this year, a price tag attack burned alive an entire family, leaving only a maimed infant living. The Samaria Settler Council also produced anti-Semitic videos portraying Israeli leftists and Jewish-Arab groups as servants of European Nazis and proposed a Knesset bill to outlaw joint Israeli-Palestinian events.

Regavim Logo3. Regavim

Taxpayer funds received 2006-2013: NIS 9.79 million
Percent of taxpayer funds that are hidden: 100%

We’ve already covered how Regavim hides 32.1% of its private donations, making them #3 on our previous list. Their purpose is to be the engine of government land theft — mapping and expelling Palestinian land owners to build Jewish-only settlements instead.
On top of their illegally-hidden private donations, Regavim also takes NIS 9.79 million in taxpayer funds and reports none of it. Haaretz recently exposed that this mostly state-funded organization used those funds to spy on Israeli human groups. This is how Netanyahu’s top ministers — with a wink and a nod — can delegitimize their political opponents but keep their hands clean. The revelations came to light first in 2013 when Im Tirtzu’s founder Ronen Shoval spilled the beans under oath .

ELAD Ir David logo2. ELAD – Ir David Foundation

Taxpayer funds received 2006-2013: NIS 10.75 million
Percent of taxpayer funds that are hidden: 68%

ELAD topped our list of right-wing groups that hide their private funding. They are responsible for some of the most destructive actions in the tinderbox of East Jerusalem, mainly suing and expelling Palestinians from their homes. It has never filed a finance report. Ever. And it has been caught violating Israeli finance law against transferring state funds to other NGOs, as it has to the Shalem Fund for years.
So why on earth is the Ministry of Education giving a lawless (and destructive) ELAD nearly 5 million shekels? (That’s $1.25 million USD.) Because ELAD runs and expands the Ir David settlement in Silwan, East Jerusalem. Much has been documented about ELAD’s land theft and rejection by real archaeologists. Working with the Jewish National Fund, the Israeli Antiquities Administration, and protectzia by cabinet ministers, ELAD can brazenly ignore legality.

Yesha Council logo1. Yesha Council

Taxpayer funds received 2006-2013: NIS 59.51 million
Percent of taxpayer funds that are hidden: 100%

We already covered how this “mothership” of the Israeli settler movement hides 99.7% of its private donations. But now we see the whopping 60 million shekels the government gave it, entirely out of sight.
Surely Netanyahu is perfectly aware of these facts. But is the Israeli public, most of whom oppose settlement pork barrel spending? Earlier this year, the Yesha Council was embroiled in public outcry when it was revealed that government grants given to settlement municipalities intended for security costs were secretly transferred instead to the Yesha Council. Just another way that state funds were handed to the settler lobby to argue for (yep) more settlements. Naftali Bennett was the Council’s head at the time.

Conclusion — Part II

The total taxpayer check to the settler NGO network from 2006-2013 has been nearly 90 million shekels — $22 million. Israeli government funding alone, not counting vast private donations, eclipses the Israeli human rights sector.
Despite oft-bleated platitudes about “transparency” and “sunshine” on murky funding for left-wing organizations, we can see that a more vast, murky and blatantly lawless torrent of money from Israeli state and public funds courses straight into the coffers of right-wing settler groups.
Here’s the 90 million-shekel question: are these groups doing the bidding of the government? Or is the Israeli government doing theirs? Who’s the funder and who’s the grantee? And to whom should Israelis appeal when their government collaborates under the table with extreme political elements in violation of its own laws?