The New Israel Fund (NIF) appears to be exceedingly angry at Minister Naftali Bennett for cancelling – along with other politicians – a planned speech at Haaretz newspaper's Israel Conference for Democracy, when it turned out that the NIF was co-sponsoring the event.
"We are not apologizing!,” the NIF wrote to Bennett on its Facebook page, taking off on his recent campaign line. “On the contrary: we are proud of Israel's civil society and of who we are. What is disgraceful is that you and additional elected officials do not hesitate to use incitement and lies to pit the different grous in Israel against each other – be it by anonymous quotes whose source is not clear, taking credit for the struggles of others, a patronizing attitude and racism, or simply stifling opponents.”
"An Israeli in our eyes,” wrote the Fund in a seemingly unprecedented tirade against an elected official, “is one who does not incite, who does not stifle speech, who does not act patronizingly toward Mizrahi Jews and other sectors, who does not rule out the homosexuals and lesbians as a public with equal rights, who does not abuse Arabs and who shows up bravely for a public debate with the other side to defend his positions.”
The NIF rejected accusations that it hounds combat officers and soldiers. “The Chief Military Prosecutor, too, knows that hard, daily work is needed to improve the standards in the IDF, to improve the flaws that exist there, just like in any other army in the world.”
The NIF said that it is proud of its activities in the last 35 years – "among other things, for freedom of speech, equality and social justice, for coexistence by Arabs and Jews and against racism, for strengthening and advancement of women: in employment, in the community and at home, for the LGBTQ (homosexual) community in the religious sector, for the human rights all of Israel's residents, without discrimination on the basis of religion, sex, race and more."
Likud told the Mida website that “as an ideological, nationalist movement, Likud will not cooperate with bodies that incessantly besmirch Israel. The New Israel Fund finances dozens of radical leftist organizations, like B'Tselem, Breaking the Silence, Adallah and Machsom Watch, which are responsible for the Goldstone Report. If Haaretz announces that it will forego the Fund's participation in the event, Likud will reconsider its participation in the conference.”
Among the planned speakers at the event are President Reuven Rivlin; Attorney Talia Sasson, who is co-chair of the Fund's international council; Attorney Hassan Jabareen, Chairman of Adallah; ex-Knesset Speaker Avrum Burg, who is now a member of the communist party Hadash; MKs from Meretz, MK Ahmed Tibi – and, until Monday morning, Jewish Home's Bennett, MK Ayelet Shaked and Yinon Magal.
Jewish Home initially told Mida that while it was also unaware that the NIF is a sponsor of the event, it will participate nonetheless. “As in previous years, the Jewish Home will participate in the Haaretz Conference, in the face of the leftists' shouts. It is very important to sound a proud and clear right-wing voice, specifically in a place like this.”