The Israel Defense Forces says it is unaware of an equipment donation a right-wing American Jewish organization claims it made to IDF soldiers. An IDF spokesman says if the donation was made, it was done without the authorities' coordination and approval.
The main focus of the organization, the One Israel Fund, is to help West Bank settlers and Israelis evacuated from their homes in the 2005 withdrawal from the Gaza Strip. The organization says it focuses on security and social services "in concert with communities, government and IDF officials."
It says it has invested about $20 million in projects here for items such as security cameras, bullet-proof vans and ambulances.
The man behind the projects is Marc Prowisor, a new immigrant from the United States who lives in the northern West Bank settlement of Shiloh.
The group's website features photos of what it describes as a ceremony six years ago in which senior officers from the IDF's Judea Brigade took part. The site also features a video that appears to have been taken during Operation Cast Lead in Gaza nearly two years ago, showing a special folding water canteen the group says it has provided to soldiers.
The special canteen has indeed been used in recent years by IDF infantry soldiers.
The video shows a reservist saying he and his colleagues have been eating and sleeping well, but need more equipment like the canteen.
The One Israel Fund website calls the donation of the canteens "the gift of water for the defenders of Israel. Every drop of water is as precious as life itself."
Several years ago, the IDF announced that it would regularly supervise contributions, and that civilian groups would not be allowed to make donations without authorization.
"The contribution from the One Israel Fund is not known to the human resources division of the General Staff," an IDF spokesman said. Other military sources added that the matter will be investigated.
Prowisor told Haaretz, "This whole project came from the fact that I was once an infantryman and I wanted to connect people abroad with people in Israel. This whole project is apolitical." He added that all his activities are coordinated with the Association for the Wellbeing of Israel's Soldiers and that the contributions are legal.
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