As a Zionist, I came to this country to make a difference. I chose the Land of Israel over the land where I was born, because I strongly believe in the Jewish people’s right to self-determination. I came here to be a part of Israel’s future and to help decide what that future would be. I was therefore disgusted to learn that huge sums of money from abroad are being funnelled into a campaign to bring down our government. The V15 campaign, which is overflowing with foreign money and has a clear allegiance to Labor-Hatnua, is not only a potential violation of Israeli election law, it is a slap in the face of Zionism, which believes in our right as Israelis to choose our own leaders.
I don’t want to live in a country where the government is sold to the highest bidder. That is why strict regulations exist to limit party and campaign contributions. According to our election laws, only Israeli citizens can donate limited funds to party campaigns, so that the decision remains that of the people. It is, after all, Israelis who live in this country, pay taxes and serve in the military. The new V15 campaign, however, is funded with money from far beyond Israel’s borders, with the explicit aim of changing our government. It has joined forces with NGOs that have received funds from foreign governments and agencies to influence Israeli policy.
One such organization is the defunct One Voice organization, which shares offices with and has been resuscitated by V15. One Voice has clear connections to the Labor and Hatnua parliamentary list, with two of its board members running on their list and numerous senior former Labor MKs active in the organization. It would seem that this is a clear violation of Israel’s election laws and the people of Israel’s right to choose its leaders.
When faced with threats like a potential nuclear-armed Iran and the rise of radical Islam on our borders, we cannot afford to let foreign-backed NGOs influence the outcome of our elections. In the last few decades, we have learned the hard way that what may seem like a good idea at a cocktail party in Washington, may not be the best cause of action for the Jewish State. Foreign NGOs and their funders have pushed us towards war in the name of peace and then condemned us for defending ourselves. They have funded an array of protests and campaigns that seek to erode the Zionist nature of our state. No wonder they want to empower a Labor-Hatnua list of politicians that includes people who call on Israeli mothers not to send their children to the IDF and label the Hatikvah racist.
Some may remember a similar funneling of funds to the Labor party campaign under Ehud Barak’s leadership in 1999, which was then known as the “NGO Affair”. It is no coincidence that Issac “Buji” Herzog ran that campaign, orchestrated the numerous supposedly non-partisans and coordinated their efforts aimed at electing Labor. Herzog then decided to maintain his right to remain silent and not incriminate himsef during the investigation into this illegal effort. Once again today, Herzog, his new partner Livni have yet to provide a full and truthful accounting in what is now being dubbed the “Second NGO Affair.”
As an Israeli- by- choice, I am especially disgusted by this episode and call on an immediate halt to the V15 organization’s activities. A full investigation is needed to understand where their funding has come from, and the full extent of what would be illegal cooperation with Labor and Hatnua.
In the meantime, this entire episode has made it even clearer that there are only two real options in this election: Prime Minister Netanyahu or the group led by Buji and Tzipi; everything else will be lost in the details. The silence of Herzog and Livni is deafening as the Likud party takes legal action against V15. They remain complacent, playing to the tune of other governments and foreign entities.
As a proud Zionist and Oleh, I will be doing everything in my power to make sure that the Likud led by Prime Minister Netanyahu stays in power and that our right to Jewish self-determination is not sold to the highest bidder.
How much is your vote worth? My vote is not for sale!