Balad vows to continue anti-Israel camps

Israeli-Arab accused of spying on Ashkenazi allegedly recruited by Hizbullah while attending Balad summer camp in Morocco.

zahalka 248.88 (photo credit: Courtesy)
zahalka 248.88
(photo credit: Courtesy)
Balad officials expressed concern on Monday that they would be pressured to close down party-sponsored summer camps for young activists in the wake of the arrest of a party operative for spying on IDF Chief of General Staff Lt.-Gen. Gabi Ashkenazi. Rawi Sultani, a 23-year-old Israeli-Arab from Tira, northeast of Kfar Saba, was allegedly recruited by Hizbullah in the summer of 2008 when he traveled to Morocco to attend a Balad summer camp. But the party also runs such camps in Arab towns in northern Israel and in the West Bank. "We won't change our political activities," Balad faction chairman MK Jamal Zahalka said. "We train our youth in legitimate political activities, according to the law in Israel and other countries, and we don't intend to change that." A participant in one of the camps told Channel 2 they were intended to strengthen young Balad activists' Palestinian identity. He said they learned in the camps about the "catastrophe" caused by Israel's creation, and how to protest against the West Bank security barrier. National Union MK Michael Ben-Ari called upon Attorney-General Menahem Mazuz to make Balad an illegal party, which was done in the 1980s to the Kach party of the late MK Meir Kahane, with whom Ben-Ari was close. Far-Right activist Baruch Marzel called upon Supreme Court President Dorit Beinisch and other judges who enabled Balad to run in February's election to "do some soul-searching and resign," due to the arrest that was announced on Monday. "The judicial system's apologetics led to the devious acts and plans that were revealed today," Marzel said.