I related here last week how I came out looking like an idiot; now you too have to take care not to come out looking like idiots. My column made a lot of waves. I was insulted when I was asked: Half a million dollars for Bill Clinton to lecture at the Peres Academic Center, all paid for by the Jewish National Fund − are you sure? Between last week and this week, seeds of doubt were sown in me: It’s not half a million, it’s about a million and not everything is included in the hosting of the former president of the United States and his entourage, and he’s just one guest. They say it’s going to be fun here.
- Yossi Sarid / The World Loves Peres, but Not Us
- The Bill, Please: Clinton Gala Fees Embarrass Peres
- Peres Center to Pay for Clinton's Speech
- British Authorities Investigating JNF
- Who's Funding Right-wing Graffiti in Israel?
- JNF Plans to Part Company With ILA
- JNF Spends Billions With No Oversight
- 'JNF Squandering Your Generosity'
- Channel 10 Signed Contract to Promote JNF in the News
One of the many citizens who phoned − someone I don’t know − complained bitterly. In our home I have always kept a blue JNF box, he began. That’s how I was brought up. Every Friday evening my two sons perform the good deed of giving − each of them puts NIS 10 in the box and on birthdays they double the amount. And what are we going to do now, he asked, what are my children who are subtracting from their pocket money going to say? We’re done with the donations to the JNF.
That family has already made a decision and it is the right one. Until now they believed their donation was dedicated to a good cause − they and the trees would grow together. Now the boys have learned that their donation isn’t dedicated to this aim but rather to one eternal boy named Shimon.
Let parents learn a lesson from these children: Don’t donate to the JNF for as long as the blue box is a black box; who really knows what’s inside it?
One fact is known for certain: The JNF is bursting with money and it doesn’t need your small change. For every dunam sold by the Israel Lands Administration, the JNF adds another goat to its flock of cash − about NIS 5 billion in its coffers, if not more.
Don’t donate, as long as the state comptroller can’t set foot in this locked garden that over the years has become the party hacks’ national park. Every time an attempt is made in the Knesset to allow the comptroller a peek inside, the JNF heads have taken care to block his line of vision. Why should they be subject to review now? As the situation stands they can reward the members of their fraternity, cast our bread upon their waters and in the fullness of days have their appointments extended. And in this way they can also whoop it up at the presidential wingding, no expense spared.
Don’t donate, as long television stations continue to air the self-promoting “public service broadcasts,” which are about earthly matters though their cost reaches to high heaven. Is Channel 2 holding its tongue only thanks to the commercials? And don’t be in any hurry to donate, as long as you don’t know how much the two chairmen, Efi Stenzler and Eli Aflalo, and the senior officials are getting paid and what other goodies they are eating in this world. At this rate we will leave them a tidy fund for the next world as well, on the plus side of the ledger at heaven’s gate.
And maybe there are some among you who aren’t especially interested in funding shady deals in the West Bank and East Jerusalem − tricks of expulsion and robbery − by means of Himnuta, a subsidiary. How much darkness must be expelled and how many swamps must still be dried out before they bequeath their riches to the JNF?
The JNF was established 110 years ago but in the meantime a state has also been established here. The JNF is past its “use by” date, it no longer has a role and its existence is superfluous. The land on and from which we are living is now “state land” and no longer “national land” − unless this means discriminatory trickery against undesirable Arab citizens, both present and absent. And all the so-called “national institutions” are obsolete; they had but one main purpose and that was to create jobs in order to hand out sinecures and perks to the likes of Stenzler, Aflalo and their cronies in Israel and abroad.
And you needn’t feel any regrets: Even when you yourselves aren’t donating there are people out there donating in your names and at your expense without asking your permission. Just this week local municipal council heads combined forces to aid Nochi Dankner, the embattled owner of the IDB conglomerate, organizing salutes and processions in his support. They support him because “he has donated a lot to the towns on the periphery.” Yes, Dankner donates your money just like the JNF does. Who gets thanked and blessed for this? Not you, not you.