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The Israel Airports Authority (IAA) has been providing financial assistance to community projects illegally, according to a legal opinion prepared by the authority's legal counsel. In response to the internal document, the IAA suspended payments totaling millions of shekels, TheMarker has learned.

The activities at issue involve support that the authority, headed by CEO Gabi Ofir, provided to schools and pre-schools. The monies, defined as donations, were meant to assist the needy, particularly communities near Ben-Gurion Airport and helped support summer camps for children, schools in Holon, and subsidize flights to Poland for underprivileged children participating in the March of Living.

The IAA's legal counsel opined that such activity is in breach of the law, and not in keeping with the authority's defined goals and roles, as described in the Airports Authority Law (1977).

Sources within the authority say that the spending was conducted illegally, and out of self-interest of the IAA and its managers, who allegedly used public money to build up their own reputation and as an expression of power and authority.

A spokesman for the IAA said, "According to the legal opinion, it has been established that the activities in question are illegal. The chairman of the board of directors, employees and members of the authority have therefore decided to suspend such activities. Nevertheless, all of the the authority's environmental activities remain intact."