Skip to main content

What’s really behind police raids on Israeli-Arab party?

The Israeli Police are investigating Balad, an Israeli Arab party, for allegedly receiving illegal donations from Arab states.
Israeli Arab lawmaker Azmi Bishara (C) attends a pro-Palestinian symposium in Sanaa May 16, 2007. Bishara resigned from the Israeli Knesset last April and said he would stay abroad for an unspecified time. REUTERS/Khaled Abdullah (YEMEN) - RTR1PQME
Read in 

Although senior members of Balad, part of the predominantly Arab Joint List, knew the police were conducting an investigation on the suspicion that funds were being illegally funneled to them, they were astonished by the raid on the movement’s offices and the arrest of senior members Sept. 18.

The investigation began after the state comptroller, who probes violations of the Party Funding Law, received certain information. The material collected was given to the police before the comptroller’s report was disseminated. (Usually, the police begin an investigation after the comptroller publishes a report.) The police undercover investigation raised suspicions that senior Balad members had received millions of shekels from various organizations in Arab states, mainly Qatar. Azmi Bishara, a former Knesset member and Balad founder, now resides in Qatar. Bishara fled Israel in 2007 after he was suspected of funneling classified information to Hezbollah during the Second Lebanon War, in 2006.

Access the Middle East news and analysis you can trust

Join our community of Middle East readers to experience all of Al-Monitor, including 24/7 news, analyses, memos, reports and newsletters.


Only $100 per year.