Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has branded the New Israel Fund as the big, bad enemy over the past few years. But it seems that the relations between Netanyahu and the NIF were not always so one-dimensional.
Jeremy Schwartz, a Reconstructionist rabbi from Connecticut, posted a tweet on Tuesday with a picture of a framed letter he received from the Prime Minister’s Bureau in Jerusalem thanking him for donating to the New Israel Fund, the same institution Netanyahu is now accusing of betrayal.
“On behalf of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, we thank you for the gift you made to the New Israel Fund in honor of the founding of the State of Israel,” reads the letter addressed to Schwartz.
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The letter is dated May 13, 2013 and signed by Jordana Cutler, who was at the time adviser to the prime minister for Diaspora affairs and is now head of policy for Facebook in Israel.
Schwartz also tweeted he gives to the NIF every year in honor of Israel’s Independence Day “because I think it's good for the country. I wanted Netanyahu to know that I support the principles of democracy, equality, justice, and peace that are enshrined in [Israel’s Declaration of Independence] that NIF works towards.” He said he made an additional donation to the fund after Netanyahu’s “anti-democratic attack.”
Last week, Netanyahu said the NIF was behind the Rwandan government's decision to pull out of a previous agreement to deport African asylum seekers from Israel to Rwanda. "The main source that applied European pressure on the Rwandan government to pull out of the agreement to remove the infiltrators from Israel is the New Israel Fund," Netanyahu wrote on his Facebook page.
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The prime minister blasted the organization as a "foreign organization that receives funding from foreign governments" with the ultimate goal of "erasing the Jewish character of Israel."