Israel Demands World Vision Condemn Alleged Funneling of Funds to Hamas

Israel alleges Hamas infiltrated the Christian civilian aid group in order to funnel tens of millions of dollars to Hamas' military wing.

A World Vision van outside the Christian NGO's East Jerusalem office.
Ahmad Gharabli, AFP

Israel's Coordinator of Government Activities in the Territories Maj. Gen. Yoav Mordechai met with representatives on World Vision in Israel on Thursday and demanded they accept responsibility and condemn the suspected funneling of funds from the aid group's branch in Gaza to Hamas' military wing.

The Shin Bet security service said on Monday that Hamas, which controls the Gaza Strip, has infiltrated the international Christian civilian aid group World Vision, to funnel tens of millions of dollars to Hamas’ military wing, Israel’s Shin Bet security service said on Thursday.

In a statement, Mordechai said that the aid group rejected all direct and indirect support of Hamas and said it will cooperate with the Israeli military.

Mohammed el-Halabi, director of World Vision's Gaza branch, was indicted on Thursday a month after his arrest for allegedly infiltrating humanitarian organization so as "to be close to decision makers in a foreign organization, to be involved in the group and operate secretly to advance al-Qassam's interests."

Halabi's attorney Mohammed Mahmoud told Haaretz on Thursday his client denies any links to Hamas, and that the fact the investigation has lasted 55 days proves there's a problem with the evidence.

World Vision also denied the charges on Thursday, saying that "based on the information available to us at this time, we have no reason to believe that the allegations are true."