Israel immigration authority apologizes for questioning of New Israel Fund leader

Ben Harris

(JTA) — The agency that manages Israel’s border crossings apologized for any “anguish” caused by the questioning of the leader of the New Israel Fund at Ben Gurion Airport.

The Population and Immigration Authority said Thursday that its interim director general, Amnon Shmueli, had spoken to the New Israel Fund’s president after the group’s vice president, Jennifer Gorovitz, was detained for questioning upon arrival in Israel on Wednesday, Haaretz reported.

“Shmueli made it clear that the questioning of Gorovitz was routine and that there was no intent to insult her. The director general apologized if she was caused any anguish,” the authority said.

Gorovitz reportedly was held for 90 minutes, prompting an opposition lawmaker to declare that she was being subjected to “political persecution.” NIF is an American-based nonprofit organization dedicated to social justice and equality that funds a number of organizations that have been highly critical of Israel.

The questioning of Gorovitz prompted Knesset member Tamar Zandberg of the left-wing Meretz party to complain to Interior Minister Aryeh Deri.

“This is political persecution, harassment and an attempt to silence those who fight for Israeli society,” Zandberg wrote in a letter to Deri.