Jewish National Fund Moves to Give $8.2 Million to Partisan Recipients

Major recipients include World Zionist Congress factions representing Likud, Zionist Union, Meretz and Yisrael Beiteinu

JNF chairman Danny Atar.
JNF chairman Danny Atar. Emil Salman

The general assembly of the Jewish National Fund in Israel changed the organization’s bylaws on Wednesday to pave the way for the transfer of 21.5 million shekels ($8.2 million) to various Zionist movements, including some factions representing major political parties represented in the Knesset. The funds are being distributed in proportion to the factions’ strength in the World Zionist Congress.

Last year the JNF board of directors in Jerusalem approved a special allocation to further cooperation with various Zionist entities, but the move ran counter to the official goals of the organization. The change approved on Tuesday makes the transfer of such funds consistent with the organization’s policy, but the organization declined on Tuesday to release a list of the recipients of the funding that can now be disbursed, saying it will be released when it is complete.

TheMarker has learned that 6.4 million shekels is to go to Zionist World Unions, which the World Zionist Organization website defines as factions that represent “a special ideological point of view within the World Zionist Organization.” A million shekels is to go to the faction affiliated with the Likud party and about 800,000 shekels to the faction affiliated with the Zionist Union, 365,000 shekels to the Meretz affiliate and 350,000 shekels to the affiliate of Israel Beiteinu.

The Jewish National Fund was established in 1901 to acquire, preserve and develop land on behalf of the Zionist movement in pre-state Israel. Although headquartered in Jerusalem, the organization, which has since expanded to a range of other activities including ecology-related projects, has independent fundraising affiliates in a number of countries, including the United States.