Israeli Arabs Used State-Constructed Auditorium To Host Event Backing Terrorist Leaders

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A conference in support of Sheikh Raed Salah, leader of the northern branch of the outlawed Israel Islamic Movement, took place last month in Um al-Fahm, in a hall that was funded by the Mifal HaPayis National Lottery.

In August, Sheikh Salah was arrested and indicted for incitement to terrorism and violence.

According to the police, on a number of different occasions, all of which occurred too place after the movement was outlawed, Salah expressed his incitement and views to the public. Salah is suspected of a number of incidents a year ago and a number of other incidents that took place after the attack on Har Habayis, in which two policemen were murdered, after which Salah praised the terrorists in front of an audience in Um al-Fahm, the city from which all three terrorists originated.

The conference, which was held following Salah’s arrest, featured a video praising Salah’s activity, and some of the speakers protested against his arrest. In addition, Palestinian flags were hung throughout the municipal Mifal HaPayis hall and participants sang the anthem of the Palestinian Authority. The conference was attended by MKs from the joint list, including MK Hanin Zoabi and Yusef Jabareen, former MK Mohammad Barakeh, Chairman of the Higher Arab Monitoring Committee, and Sheikh Kamal Hatib, Deputy Chairman of the Northern Branch of the Islamic Movement.

The conference aroused outrage, because it expressed its support for the northern branch of the Islamic Movement, which was declared an illegal association, and was held in the Mifal HaPayis hall, which was built by the Israeli public and defined as a public utility.

Following the anger, Chairman of “Lech Yerushalayim” Maor Tzemach appealed to Mifal HaPayis Chairman Uzi Dayan and called on him to expropriate the use of the hall in Um al-Fahm from those currently in charge: “All activity of the northern branch of the Islamic Movement is grave and we expect that the control and supervision of Mifal HaPayis in their halls in Arab communities in Israel will be close, so that these halls will not serve as centers of incitement and nationalist preaching against the State of Israel.”

Mifal HaPayis said in response that “Mifal HaPayis has no information about the existence of the event.

“We want to emphasize that the Authority is signing a letter of undertaking to the lottery, in which it undertakes, among other things, to operate the building according to its designation,” Mifal HaPayis said.

“We would like to point out that recently Mifal HaPayis prevented two political events from taking place in the buildings that were established with the assistance of the lottery, when the information was transferred to HaPayis before the event took place.”

(YWN – Israel Desk, Jerusalem)