Deri latest to back out of Haaretz conference

Shas leader Aryeh Deri is the latest politician to drop out of Haaretz’s annual “Israel Democracy Conference” after discovering the event was sponsored by the left-wing organization the New Israel Fund this week.

“Unfortunately, I have been witness recently to the fact that the conference has turned into a divisive discourse, and awakens controversy in Israeli society, and I am not especially interested in being part of this festival during the elections season,” Deri says to organizers.

Shas leader Aryeh Deri arrives at the party's Jerusalem headquarters, January 12, 2015. (Miriam Alster/FLASH90)
Shas leader Aryeh Deri arrives at the party’s Jerusalem headquarters, January 12, 2015. (Miriam Alster/FLASH90)

After the conference program was published Sunday, both the Likud and Jewish Home parties canceled their plans to participate.

The conference is scheduled to take place in Tel Aviv on February 17.

The Fund, which gives grants to liberal and left-wing organizations, has come under fire many times in the past. Critics say the group promotes anti-Zionist values and distributes money to civil organizations that actively work against Israel.

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