The Abraham Fund Initiatives NGO launched what it called a “nonpartisan” campaign to increase turnout in the Israeli-Arab sector for the coming elections, after a report surfaced about possible US funding for such efforts.

The campaign includes running conferences for Arab students in colleges; media outreach; and work on a new poll that will identify the messages that would encourage the most turnout.

Earlier this month, the Washington Free Beacon reported that a group of US-funded progressive groups were planning a major effort to increase voter turnout among certain communities in Israel that are likely to vote against Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s Likud party.

The report quoted a memo it had obtained by the Ameinu group that promoted a $3 million effort for “a massive, nonpartisan Get Out The Vote campaign targeting selected demographic and geographic segments of Israeli society.”

The memo said that the Israeli NGO Givat Haviva would lead the effort in the Israeli-Arab community.

Mohammad Darawshe, the director of planning at Givat Haviva – which is dedicated to promoting mutual responsibility, civic equality, and cooperation between divided groups in Israel – told The Jerusalem Post on Sunday that his organization is “not involved in getting out the vote at all.”

“The way that the subject has been represented in the media is not accurate,” he said.

Darawshe added that, personally, on his own initiative and separate from his work at the NGO, he is volunteering to get out the Arab vote for the upcoming elections.

In another similar story, the Likud party dropped its court petition on Thursday after it had accused the Zionist Union of violating laws prohibiting accepting funds from non-Israeli citizens and foreign-funded organizations and governments via V15 (Victory in 2015), a group that, among other things, seeks to promote moves toward defeating Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in the upcoming election.

Abraham Fund co-executive directors Thabet Abu Rass and Amnon Beeri-Sulitzeanu, in a conversation with the Post on Sunday, emphasized the nonpartisan nature of the campaign.

Asked about other efforts at getting out the vote in the Arab sector, Abu Rass said that each organization wants to get out the vote “in their own way.”

“We in the Abraham Fund praise any effort to increase the Arab vote,” said Beeri-Sulitzeanu.

Another main focus will be an effort to increase the turnout among the Beduin population in the Negev, which historically has been low.

In addition, the fund is working with activists and young community leaders to raise awareness about the importance of voting.

“The habit of low political participation is a manifestation of the alienation that the Beduin community feels from the state. Our aim is to help enhance their sense of belonging to the state as citizens,” said Abu Rass in a statement released by the NGO.

“Our goal is to enhance the influence of Arab citizens on the political system in order to improve the situation of the Arab minority and encourage its integration in Israeli public life. As a nonpartisan body, the Abraham Fund is not interested in which party Arab voters choose,” said Abu Rass. “We simply want them to exercise their fundamental democratic right to vote.”

The Abraham Fund also is encouraging the main political parties to promote Jewish-Arab cooperation in politics and government, including the inclusion of Arab parties in the future government coalition.

“We have seen a systematic and worsening trend to exclude Arab citizens and to challenge their right for political involvement and influence,” said Beeri-Sulitzeanu.

“The Abraham Fund opposes this trend and will struggle to defend the right of Arab citizens to play a part in shaping the future of Israeli society,” he added.