Jonathan Lis, "Netanyahu Responds to Ongoing Inquiry: 'A Lot of Hot Air, There's Nothing There'," haaretz.com
Netanyahu image from articleExcerpt:
The prime minister was also asked about a U.S. Senate report that claimed that V15, an organization founded to oppose Netanyahu used the resources and the databases of a public diplomacy project relating to the peace process that had been funded by the U.S. State Department.
The report, issued by the U.S. Senate Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations, said the material was not obtained by the V15 organization due to a deliberate decision by senior State Department officials, but reached the group because of negligence by midlevel diplomats. The investigation was launched last year, when the relationship between the OneVoice Movement, a group that received State Department funding to promote the peace process, and V15 came under scrutiny by right-wing media outlets in America and Israel.
The funding, transferred through the U.S. Embassy in Tel Aviv and the U.S. Consulate in Jerusalem, was used to build a database of Israelis and Palestinians of voting age; to expand OneVoice’s presence on social media; and to recruit an American political consultant to train OneVoice’s executives and activists. The report states that after the project ended, OneVoice gave the database and social media infrastructure it had developed with State Department expense to V15.
"I want to explain what is improper about V15," Netanyahu said in response to the question. "We have non-profits that need to work with the minimum transparency, but there is one thing that we cannot accept – bypassing the election law. How does the [election] financing law work in Israel? It sets out how each party should fund its election. The law limits the amounts. V15 bypassed this. How? They said 'we're not giving to a party but rather opposing a party,'" apparently referring to his own Likud party.
The money, the prime minister said, was used to influence the results of last year's Knesset election. "We in Likud complained about this loophole and didn't get relief from the court. It's clear to me that this is intervention. These are huge sums. This needs to be stopped, for everyone, by the way."