Opposition MKs Call to Revoke Funding for Commemoration of Late Controversial IDF General

The call comes in the wake of a Channel 2 report depicting Rehavam Ze’evi as a rapist and serial sexual predator who socialized with crime figures, ordered thugs to beat up journalists and was a cold-blooded killer.

Rehavam Zeevi during his time as head of the Israeli army's Central Command.
Daniel Rosenblum  

Several members of the Israeli opposition have called to revoke the law to commemorate the late and controversial former general and cabinet minister Rehavam Ze’evi, after the broadcast of a television report disclosing some of his darker facets.

The report depicted Ze’evi as a rapist and serial sexual predator who socialized with crime figures, ordered thugs to beat up journalists and was a cold-blooded killer. But revoking the law is considered highly unlikely.

The opposition intends to fight to overturn the law and end state funding of projects. The latter goal will be easier to implement.

The law authorizes the finance minister and prime minister to set the budget for Ze’evi’s commemoration each year. If Finance Minister Moshe Kahlon decides to suspend the funds, it will be done in the next state budget.

However, even if Kahlon does this, unless the law itself is overturned future finance ministers could allocate funds for the controversial minister’s commemoration as they see fit.

Kahlon’s aides could not say on Saturday how they would deal with the issue. The calls to revoke the law and suspend the funds have come so far from the Zionist Union (MK Yoel Hasson), Meretz (MKs Zehava Galon, Michal Rosin and Tamar Zandberg), Yesh Atid (MKs Karin Elharrar and Aliza Lavie) and the Joint Arab List (MK Aida Touma-Suliman).

Touma-Suliman said over the weekend that Ze’evi was not worthy of commemoration, not only because of the TV expose. “I’m appalled that Israeli society sees Ze’evi’s rapes as a serious crime, but not his involvement in war crimes, killing people and prisoners,” she said.

MKs from right-wing parties have said little about Ze’evi since the Thursday broadcast. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and members of his cabinet presumably do not want to antagonize Ze’evi’s supporters. But neither do they want to publicly support a man now suspected of rape and other crimes.

In the “Uvda” (Fact) episode, Rafi Eitan, a legendary Mossad operative and former cabinet minister, claimed that Ze’evi shot two innocent Bedouin in the Negev before the 1967 Six-Day War, killing one and wounding the other.