WZO Transferred $14 Million to Settlements in 2014 - Not $4.2m, as Reported

The organization's Settlement Division significantly downplayed the figure in its 2014 report.

Chaim Levinson
Chaim Levinson
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A partial view of the Israeli settlement of Kedumim and the Palestinian village of Jeit, in the West Bank, February 9, 2015.Credit: AFP
Chaim Levinson
Chaim Levinson

According to the Finance Ministry, the Settlement Division of the World Zionist Organization last year transferred at least 55 million shekels (about $14 million).

The figure is significantly higher than the one the division reported to WZO management for 2014 - 17 million shekels ($4.2 million).

Attorney General Yehuda Weinstein last week issued an opinion that the activities of the Settlement Division should be transferred to the government instead of remaining in the WZO and receiving government funds. That opinion was given following increasing criticism over a lack of transparency in the Settlement Division’s funding of its activities, a sizable portion of which goes to West Bank settlements.

According to a report Sunday by Makor Rishon journalist Haggai Segel, the Settlement Division gave only 17 million shekels to West Bank settlements in 2014 – 5.7 percent of its budget. Segel based his report on a document, posted on Monday in full by journalist Raviv Drucker on his blog, that was submitted by Settlement Division chairman Danny Kritzman to the WZO directors.

However, Haaretz checked and found more complete data, provided by the accountant general’s division in the Finance Ministry, on the ministry’s website. According to that information, 56 settlements received support totaling 8.6 million shekels. The Jordan Valley Regional Council received 2 million shekels, and the regional councils of Gush Etzion, 1.8 million; Shomron, 885,000; Binyamin, 1.3 million and Megilot, 1 million. Funding was also given directly to settlement associations.

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