Far-right MK Tapped for Probe Into Leftist Groups

On Tuesday, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Likud decided to vote in the Knesset in favor of the establishment of the committees that will investigate the sources of funding for left-wing groups.

The chairman of the Knesset coalition, Ze'ev Elkin, indicated yesterday that MK Michael Ben-Ari (National Union ) will be appointed to one of the two parliamentary committees to investigate the financial sources of human rights organizations, harm done to the Israel Defense Forces and the purchase of state land by foreign elements.

Michael Ben Ari
Ofer Vaknin

Ben-Ari said yesterday that he will be pleased to accept such an appointment, and that he can be trusted to act justly. "Knesset members from Balad and the United Arab List know that I will take care of them and their confederates exactly as I promised. I will guard the State of Israel against all sorts of persons, both inside the country and overseas, who hate it, and who want to destroy it."

On Tuesday, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Likud decided to vote in the Knesset in favor of the establishment of the committees. Though Likud has voted in favor of exercising party discipline in such a vote, Knesset coalition chairman Elkin has said that he will allow ministers Benny Begin, Dan Meridor and Michael Eitan, along with Knesset Speaker Reuven Rivlin, to vote against the proposal.

Next Tuesday, the Knesset House Committee will discuss the composition of the committees and the scope of their authority. The House Committee's decision will be brought to the plenum for a final vote.

The opposition made clear yesterday it intends to boycott the committees. Opposition MKs will vote against their establishment, and will not serve on them. However, three Kadima MKs had supported the committee establishment proposals in an earlier vote in the Knesset.

Kadima MK Shlomo Molla wrote to Elkin: "In a democratic state, politicians must not investigate citizens. Without agreeing to all activities undertaken by these organizations, we believe that the establishment of these investigatory committees constitutes a new low in the history of the Knesset, which is cynically using parliamentary means to conduct political persecution."

Yesterday, Elkin ridiculed Kadima's position regarding these parliamentary investigation committees. "I am happy that Kadima's hypocrisy has been exposed, after some members of the party earlier supported the establishment of the parliamentary investigation committees; Tzipi Livni has decided to stifle the views of some party members, and not allow the sane views of some of them to be heard," Elkin said.

The Arab parties also said yesterday that they will boycott the committees. "We've told Elkin that we refuse to be part of the investigation committees," said MK Ahmed Tibi, chairman of the United Arab List-Ta'al. "We said that committee members must have several qualifications, including a level of fascism and McCarthyism sufficient to investigate human rights organizations," he added.