israeli government

Ryan Rodrick Beiler 12-19-2016

ON JUNE 15, 2016, Mohammed el-Halabi, manager of World Vision’s Gaza programs, was arrested by Israeli authorities, accused of funneling millions of donor dollars to Hamas, the Islamist political party that rules inside Gaza.

The case made international headlines—and had a dangerous chilling effect on Christian aid organizations working in the Middle East.

Well before el-Halabi had the opportunity to be tried—let alone convicted—of any crime, the Israeli foreign ministry prepared talking points, background materials, infographics, and videos, ordering the country’s diplomats to hype el-Halabi’s alleged confession to media and senior government officials around the world.

“Contacts, journalists, and relevant opinion makers should be briefed,” ordered senior foreign ministry officials, with particular focus on targeting “liberal and religious groups,” reported an Israeli newspaper.

But cracks in the Israeli government’s case appeared almost immediately. The most gaping: “World Vision’s cumulative operating budget in Gaza for the past 10 years was approximately $22.5 million, which makes the alleged amount of up to $50 million being diverted hard to reconcile,” said Kevin Jenkins, president and CEO of World Vision International.

According to World Vision, its programs in Gaza are subject to internal and independent audits and external evaluations to ensure that funds benefit those intended, precisely the nearly half of Gaza’s population living in poverty under a crippling blockade enforced by Israel. El-Halabi was accused of embezzling $50 million, yet World Vision’s accountability process caps signing authority at $15,000.

Undeterred by the facts, an Israeli foreign ministry spokesperson told Australian media: “It’s like when you catch a serial killer; the question of whether he killed 50 people or 25 people is not really relevant, is it?”

On May 31, I awoke to news reports that the Israeli Navy had boarded and fired on 10 small ships in international waters approaching the coast of Gaza and bearing humanitarian supplies for Palestin

There is a biblical story in which Samson used the jawbone of an ass to defeat his enemies. Today some politicians seem to think "jawboning" -- talk and more talk, whether sweet or angry -- can actually win peace in the Middle East. But it will take much stronger action.

Several sources have recommended this commentary by M.J. Rosenberg at Media Matters as a helpful analysis of the new "Obama Peace Plan" for the Middle East.

Rose Marie Berger 3-31-2010
The Israeli Embassy has confirmed this afternoon with Sojourners that travel re
Brian McLaren 2-08-2010
It's one thing to go to the "Holy Land" and see where Jesus worked and walked in the past.

During these days between Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur, Jews are called on to reexamine our own actions -- our "missings of the mark." The emphasis is on OUR sins -- not those of individuals alone, but of the community -- and the sins of ourselves, not of other people, even our en

Phil Haslanger 9-09-2009

Just the basic facts about Anna Baltzer make her a provocative presence. She's a 30-year-old Jewish-American woman who is arguing passionately for justice for Palestinians.

In most cases in Occupied Palestine at this point, Palestinian refugees live in UN-administered camps that are essentially urban slums--overcrowded apartment blocks with high rates of poverty. But there are still some refugees that live in tents.