The Prime Minister’s Office has transferred some 2.5 million shekels (over $725,000) to regional councils in the West Bank over the past year and a half for “perpetuating the legacy of Rehavam Ze’evi,” the extreme right-wing cabinet minister who was assassinated by Palestinian gunmen in Jerusalem in October 2001.
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An investigative report by the “Uvda” (“Fact”) television program in April 2016 – before all these funds were transferred – alleged that Ze’evi had close ties with underworld figures and had sexually assaulted women.
According to the list of funding transfers made since the middle of 2016, all the agencies receiving money for memorializing Ze’evi have been regional councils in the West Bank.
In early December, 730,000 shekels were allocated to the Jordan Valley Regional Council for “an activity to perpetuate the memory of Rehavam Ze’evi – the torch race of 2017.” The request said, “Rehavam Ze’evi was the Central Command chief and commanded hundreds of operations against terrorists in the Jordan Valley who had crossed the Jordan River. Rehavam Ze’evi did a lot for the development of the Jordan Valley and the Jordan Valley road [Route 90] bears his name.” A similar request for 750,000 shekels was approved in December 2016 for the race held that year.
Also last month, the Prime Minister’s Office transferred 400,000 shekels to the Kiryat Arba local council for “tours for the public to perpetuate the legacy of Rehavam Ze’evi.”
The town sought the money for an event scheduled for March, to be attended by 1,650 people – pupils, soldiers, youth groups and families. The objective is for “participants to become familiar with the landscapes to which Ze’evi, of blessed memory, was so connected, and the biblical values, heritage and history to which he was connected.”
Other transfers approved during 2016 and 2017 included 175,000 shekels to the Samaria Regional Council for “holding a youth hike in Samaria in memory of Rehavam Ze’evi” (approved on November 30, 2017); 120,000 shekels for the Ma’aleh Hever Midrasha in the south Hebron Hills for “activities to memorialize Rehavam Ze’evi” (October 2016); and 400,000 shekels for a “Samaria march in memory of Rehavam Ze’evi” (September 2016).
The funds to perpetuate Ze’evi’s memory are allocated by a special unit in the Prime Minister’s Office that manages several million shekels a year. On the eve of Memorial Day last year, an allocation of 43.5 million shekels was made to build a “memorial center” for Ze’evi in the settlement of Barkan. According to the Prime Minister’s Office, “The commemoration program is implemented in accordance with the Mandatory Tenders Law and every procedure and regulation. In 2015 the commemoration council published a public appeal in three national newspapers that was open to all public agencies and local authorities to submit proposals for commemorating Rehavam Ze’evi. These commemorative events and others come from a dedicated budget to commemorate Rehavam Ze’evi in accordance with the work plan determined by the public committee to commemorate him.”