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Thursday, October 02, 2014

Of course: Leftist AG's office clears B'Tselem as 'national service'

National Service (Sheirut Leumi) is a substitute for army service which is undertaken by many religious Jewish women (and some religious Jewish men) who won't serve in the army on religious grounds, as well as by people who have physical impediments to serving in the army... and by some conscientious objector types. About six weeks ago, the service's director - Sar Shalom Jerbi - issued a directive stating that volunteering at B'Tselem, our Holocaust-denying anti-Israel propaganda machine, did not constitute national service. Our Leftist Attorney General's office has now overruled that decision, which means that providing anti-Israel propaganda to the biased Schabas Commission will now be deemed 'national service' to the State of Israel.
On Tuesday Deputy Attorney General Dina Zilber announced that the decision was null and void.
Zilber said that Jerbi can strip an organization of the right to receive national service volunteers only if the organization rejects Israel’s existence as a Jewish and democratic state, incites to violence, terror or racism, or supports terrorism or armed struggle against Israel. However, she said, he failed to prove that B’Tselem does any of these.
Jerbi had cited two interviews B’Tselem director Hagai El-Ad gave during the war, one to the Qatar-based Al-Jazeera television network and another to Radio Tel Aviv, as evidence that the organization supports or incites to terror. But Zilber deemed this evidence “weak.”
Moreover, she said, the agency is obligated to treat all organizations equally, and the fact that Jerbi hadn’t investigated other groups whose activities are similar to those of B’Tselem “also paints the decision in a problematic hue from the standpoint of equality.”
Jerbi’s decision, Zilber wrote, “opens the door to politicization of the National Civilian Service Administration, which is liable to use its authority to deny recognition only to certain groups, thereby imposing an economic and public price tag on them, only because of statements that are controversial on one side of the political spectrum.”
Jerbi said he would honor Zilber’s decision, but also plans to explore other ways “to prevent the absurd situation in which the State of Israel,” via its provision of national service volunteers, “continues financing an organization that accused Israel Defense Forces soldiers and the State of Israel of committing war crimes during Operation Protective Edge [in Gaza] and libeled it around the world.”
Jerbi is seemingly faced with the Hobson's choice of providing national service volunteers to numerous anti-Israel organizations, or finding the budget to investigate all of them. What could go wrong?

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