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Hezbollah: Fundraising Strategy and Propaganda

(Updated 2006)

The following documents captured in Lebanon reveal how Hezbollah raises funds and furthers its propaganda and indoctrination campaign, stressing the younger generation.

Two sides of a leaflet put out be the Islamic Resistance Support Association, an important Hezbollah institution which raises finds and spreads propaganda and indoctrination. Left illustration amphasizing that the contributions will be used to buy weapons to destroy Israel. Right illustration: A contribution form (Taken from the village of ‘Aita al-Sha'ab).


Leaflets related to fund-raising for Hezbollah and the organization's indoctrination of the Lebanese population (particularly the Shi'ite population) were captured from Hezbollah terrorists in the villages of ‘Aita al-Sha'ab and Aita'run during the second Lebanon war. The leaflets and other documents captured were issued by a Hezbollah institution called the Islamic Resistance Support Association.

The Islamic Resistance Support Association was established in 1989 to regularize the organization's fund-raising campaigns. Headed by Al-Hajj Hussein al-Shami, it works through Beit al-Mal, the Hezbollah bank whose branches were attacked during the war. The money collected, in our assessment, is earmarked primarily for the purchase of weapons for Hezbollah terrorist-operations. Funds are raised in Lebanon and Muslim communities – especially Shi'ite – around the world, mainly in the Gulf States and western countries.

The logo of the Islamic Resistance Support Associationcontains the Arabic word daam (“support”) in red, its first letter fashioned as a hand holding a pen that ends in a rifle. The upper part shows a half-circle symbolizing the globe, which also appears on the Hezbollah emblem. A schematic globe appears on the emblems of many Islamic “charity” and youth societies, apparently to emphasize the universal dimension of their activity. 

The institution collects considerable sums of money in Lebanon from both the private and public sectors, including businesses, mosques, educational institutions, gas stations, shopping centers, road blocks, etc. It has scattered thousands of collection boxes in places where people (especially Shi'ites) congregate and carries out national fund-raising campaigns. Some of its activities are coordinated with other Hezbollah socio-economic institutions, such as the building fund (jihad al-bina’), and the fund for the wounded and the martyrs' fund (muasasat al-shaheed).  

The Islamic Resistance Support Association also plays an important role in the battle for hearts and minds, especially of the younger generation, as is well illustrated by the captured documents. The intention is to instill the youth with the principles of Hezbollah's radical Islamic ideology and the concept of the jihad against Israel and the struggle against the United States and the west according to the Shi'ite Islamic ideology exported by Iran to Lebanon.

Children wearing military camouflage uniforms and carrying Hezbollah flags in a parade. The educational institutions are raising the younger generation on the principles of violence and hatred for Israel.

It should be noted that the Islamic Resistance Support Association collects money not only in Lebanon but in Lebanese Shi'ite communities around the world. The funds raised are additional to the generous Iranian financial support. Despite the deceptively innocent face presented by the Association, the money collected is channeled into a supporting organization's campaign against Israel, as illustrated by the leaflet.

It should be noted that in the past the Islamic Resistance Support Association was involved in raising funds in Detroit, Michigan, where there is a large Shi'ite Muslim population of Lebanese extraction. The money was collected in the same sort of collection box used in south Lebanon, placed in restaurants (and possibly other sites) frequented by Detroit's Shi'ite population. The Islamic Resistance Support Association had a Website through which contributions to Hezbollah could be made and which called for financial support of the Palestinian population to strengthen its terrorist campaign (intifada).

Following is an analysis of captured material dealing with the Islamic Resistance Support Association's fund-raising and propaganda activities.

Hezbollah Fundraising Leaflet

Hezbollah fund-raising leaflets were found in the possession of Hezbollah terrorists in the village of Aita al Sha'ab. They had been distributed to the local population at homes, in schools, and in stores to encourage contributions. The leaflet's illustration makes it clear that the contributions will be used to buy weapons to destroy Israel. They were produced by the Islamic Resistance Support Association for a fundraising campaign called “savings account.” To that end, thousands of collections boxes like those shown on the leaflet were distributed, especially to children.

The back of the leaflet states: “So that all our houses may be [part of the] resistance [i.e., Hezbollah] – [This is] a resistance collection box – place it in your house.” The picture shows a collection box in the form of the Dome of the Rock and the portrait of the former Hezbollah leader, ‘Abbas Musawi, who was killed by Israel. Coins drop into the box and drop out as bullets which shatter the Star of David, which symbolizes Israel.

The other side of the leaflet states: “Your support is a mark of honor, and your participation is pride, together we will defend the homeland” [Hezbollah customarily represents itself as “the shield of the homeland,” justifying the fact that it does not disarm]. It also states: “The resistance collection box is small and placed inside the house so that all members of the family will sense the importance of participating in supporting the resistance by contributing. The contributions will be collected monthly by male and female volunteer representatives of the Association …” Under that it states: “Help support the ‘resistance,’ request [a collection box] for your house by filling out the attached form and giving it to Association representatives who can be reached by calling the following numbers…” (followed by a list of phone numbers in Beirut and north and south Lebanon ).

At the bottom of the leaflet is a coupon asking for name, address and phone number. On the back is written: “ Help us distribute ‘resistance boxes' to the homes of your friends and neighbors.”

Indoctrination Alongside Collection

Perpetuating the myth of a victorious Hezbollah after the IDF withdrawal from the security zone in south Lebanon in May 2000

The Islamic Resistance Support Association is part of a broad infrastructure of Hezbollah institutions and bodies which are responsible for a wide variety of social activities in Shi'ite regions throughout Lebanon, targeting especially the younger generation. Their activities are not motivated purely by altruism but are intended to increase the organization's popularity within the Shi'ite population and indoctrinate it with Hezbollah radical Islamic ideology (similar to the activities of the Hamas da'wah in the Palestinian Authority).

The above Islamic Resistance Support Association banner captured in the village of ‘Ait'arun was produced for “Resistance and Liberation Day,” celebrated by Hezbollah every May 25 to commemorate the IDF's withdrawal from the security zone on May 24, 2000. On the background of a Lebanese flag, imprisoning the lower red stripe and almost obliterating the cedar tree, is an arm holding an upraised rifle, which appears on the Hezbollah emblem as well. It symbolizes its active determination to continue its campaign to destroy Israel.

Hezbollah has turned the anniversary of the IDF withdrawal into a holiday glorifying its own role as “Lebanon's shield” (and as a reminder that it has no intention of disarming), and to indoctrinate the population with its radical Shi'ite brand of Islam. The day is celebrated with conferences, rallies, and speeches by Hassan Nasrallah and other senior Hezbollah terrorists.

A quiz used to indoctrinate youth with Hezbollah ideology and principles

In the village of ‘Aita al Sha'ab a kit was found meant to be used by children and containing both a call to contribute to Hezbollah and a quiz with prizes for the correct answers. The quiz was called “The competition of the youth of victory – 2006.”

The title reads, “The competition of the youth of victory – 2006,” under which there is a child waving a Hezbollah flag over an Israeli tank with one hand and making the “V” sign for victory with the other. At the bottom left there is a note to the effect that the competition will be held to celebrate “Islamic Resistance Week” [i.e., Hezbollah week], dedicated to the memory of the deaths of martyrs of two of the organization leaders, sheikh Ragheb Harb and Al-Sayyid ‘Abbas Musawi (and his family).

The second part contains ten questions:

1) To what did the honorable Sayyid Hassan Nasrallah compare the heroic confrontation, during which the Islamic resistance completely destroyed the two [Israeli] posts, al-‘Abassiya and al-Ghajar?
2) Who is the most senior Lebanese [imprisoned] in the jails of the Israeli enemy?
3) Who said: “[Our] position is the weapon, but a handshake means recognition [of Israel]?”
4) Where did the Zionist enemy planes hit sheikh ‘Abbas Musawi, his wife and baby son Hussein?
5) Which farm [of those mentioned] does not belong to the Sheba'a Farms?
6) When did the heroic battle of Maidun take place?
7) Where did the istishhadi [suicide bomber], sheikh Ass'ad Bero, carry out his heroic action?
8) Who said: “We defeated Hezbollah” [just] after 13 Zionist soldiers were killed in the Shihin [a village in south Lebanon] action?
9) When did the Islamic resistance execute the high-ranking collaborator ‘Akel Hashem [head of the western brigade of the South Lebanese Army, murdered by Hezbollah]?”
10) On September 18, 1986, the Islamic resistance penetrated an enemy post, and for the first time [in Hezbollah attacks] a camera was used for filming operational footage. What was the name of the post?

This “innocent” children's quiz is used to indoctrinate the youngsters from among whom the organization's future terrorist-operatives will be enlisted. It emphasizes the importance of fighting the Israeli enemy on the basis of Hezbollah “battle heritage;” it perpetuates the images of ‘Abbas Musawi, Hezbollah's previous secretary who was killed by Israel and Ass'ad Bero, the suicide bomber; it reiterates the organization's political demands which justify the continued jihad against Israel and its refusal to disarm, the demand for the release of prisoners, primarily Samir Kuntar, and the “liberation” of the Sheba'a Farms.

The third part of the quiz includes possible multiple choice answers:

1) Risk, Play Station, Atari.
2) Nissim Nasser, Samir al-Kuntar, Yahya Skaf [three prisoners whose release is demanded by Hezbollah].
3) Sheikh Ragheb Harb, Sayyid ‘Abbas Musawi, Sayyid Hassan Nasrallah [three Hezbollah role models].
4) Jibshit, Tufahta, Dir al-Zaharani.
5) Ruwaysat al-‘Ilm, Bastra, al-Ghaziya
6) May 8, 1988; May 8, 1989; May 8, 1990.
7) The Fatma Gate, Rabb Thalathin, Tel al-Nahas.
8) Shimon Peres, Ariel Sharon, Yitzhak Rabin.
9) January 30, 1998; January 30, 1999; January 30, 2000.
10) al-Dabsa post, Sujud post, A'alman post

Part 4: An illustration depicting the importance of contributing to Hezbollah:

Part four shows the same illustration that appears in the Islamic Resistance Support Association leaflet, containing the message that a contribution to Hezbollah will buy weapons to destroy Israel. The inscription reads: “You support…[means] you resist.”

Part five includes a contribution form printed on an envelope. The upper part reads: “Put your contribution here,” meaning insert money into the opening provided. The form asks for name, age, school, address and telephone number, that is, the target audience is school children, a preferred group. This particular form was filled out by a boy named Muhammad ‘Abbas Hijazi from the village of Ait'arun.

The last part explains where to send the answers and how to send contributions. They are both sent either to Islamic Resistance Support Association representatives or through schools. The inscription at the bottom of the page states that the results will be announced on Al-Manar TV, on the show called “Little Al-Manar ” (an Al-Manar TV children's program) and at “participating schools.” It is another way of involving schools in Hezbollah's intense indoctrination activity and efforts to prepare new generations of terrorist-operatives for its ranks.

Making the murderer Samir Kuntar a symbol of the effort to release Lebanese prisoners:

As part of its battle for hearts and minds, Hezbollah has made an effort to indoctrinate the Lebanese population to accept the demand for the release of Lebanese prisoners held by Israel, which is its justification for kidnapping attacks (among them the latest abduction of two IDF soldiers, which led to the outbreak of the second Lebanon war). Hezbollah has turned Samir Kuntar, the most senior Lebanese prisoner, into a symbol of his demand for the release of all Israeli-held Lebanese prisoners.  Nasrallah again raised the demand in a speech given on July 12, the day the two IDF soldiers were kidnapped.

A card was found in the village of Marun al-Ras (shown above front and back), issued by the Islamic Resistance Support Association for Mother's Day using it in the propaganda battle to release Samir Kuntar. It reads: “To the eyes which will not sleep…with the blessing of the resistance.” The card shows an elderly Islamic woman (possibly Kuntar's mother) looking longingly at a picture of Samir Kuntar. The right-hand side of the inner part of the card contains a Mother's Day blessing: “To the mothers of the shaheeds, prisoners, the wounded, the jihad warriors, to every mother… blessings from the resistance.” The left-hand side bears the Association's emblem and reads: “The Islamic Resistance Support Association.”

Sources: Intelligence and Terrorism Information Center at the Center for Special Studies