The Shomron Regional Council recently decided to renew its support for the Samaria Residents’ Council, a settler group, and will provide it with 750,000 shekels ($195,000). This comes just a year after the uproar over the anti-Semitic video distributed by the organization, which likened Europeans to Nazis and leftist organizations to “craven Jews who collaborate with them for money.”
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The Samaria Residents’ Council was founded eight years ago by activists from the area, led by current council head Yossi Dagan, to wage public political campaigns on behalf of West Bank settlers. Last year, the organization was at the center of two public scandals. The first was its campaign to separate Jews and Palestinians on buses in the West Bank and to keep Palestinians off the buses used by settlers; the second was a video that was deemed anti-Semitic for the way it used well-known Nazi caricatures to depict leftist Israeli organizations. The video sparked a storm of reaction from both right and left, and the Shomron Regional Council thereafter decided to suspend its funding of the organization. For this reason, former Residents’ Council head Benny Katzover decided to leave.
Last week, the Shomron Regional Council decided to resume its financial support for the Samaria Residents’ Council. According to the minutes of its meeting, the local authority determined that the Residents’ Council was eligible to receive support for settlement in Samaria, and decided to allocate it 750,000 shekels. Meanwhile, the Shomron Regional Council needed government grants in order to balance its budget. The sum to be given by the local authority is about half of the organization’s budget, which is also based on donations and other income.