Would-be Meretz leader: I’ll return money if my donor sold weapons to Angola
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Would-be Meretz leader: I’ll return money if my donor sold weapons to Angola

Tamar Zandberg, a vocal opponent of arms sales to countries with poor human rights records, forced to explain NIS 5,000 donation

Meretz MK Tamar Zandberg attends an Interior Affairs Committee meeting at the Knesset in Jerusalem, November 30, 2017. (Miriam Alster/Flash90)
Meretz MK Tamar Zandberg attends an Interior Affairs Committee meeting at the Knesset in Jerusalem, November 30, 2017. (Miriam Alster/Flash90)

A Meretz MK and leading candidate in the left-wing faction’s primaries next week vowed on Friday to return money her campaign received from a major donor if reports that the patron sold weapons to the military regime in Angola throughout the country’s civil war were verified.

“I did not know about this; but if it turns out to be true, I will return the money,” Tamar Zandberg told Channel 10, hours after the news site broke the story that Eitan Stiva had sold tens of millions of dollars worth of arms to the southern African nation which fought a brutal civil war from 1975 to 2002.

The former Israel Air Force pilot donated NIS 5,000 ($1,446) to the campaign of Zandberg, who became the leading candidate in the Meretz primaries when current chairwoman Zehava Galon and party stalwart Ilan Gilon dropped out of the race late last month.

Zandberg has been a vocal opponent of Israel’s arms sales to countries with poor human rights records.

Stiva’s wife Ora said in a statement that the donation had been from her, while Eitan declined to respond.

Eitan Stiva in an interview with Hadashot news in February 2012. (Screen capture/YouTube)

Israel has come under fire in recent months for its sale of weapons to military regimes.

In November, the Foreign Ministry stated categorically that it was no longer selling weapons to Myanmar, which has been accused of ethnic cleansing.

While admitting it had sold weapons to Myanmar in the past, the ministry said it had frozen all military sales several months ago.

Myanmar’s Ambassador to Israel U Maung Maung Lynn had seemed to indicate that Israel was still selling weapons to his country.

Earlier this month, an anti-weapons sales activist was arrested after he interrupted a speech by Transportation and Intelligence Minister Israel Katz to protest defense exports to South Sudan, which has been accused of gross human rights violations.

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