A major decrease in donations from the US – due to the financial crisis and the dollar devaluation – caused the Jewish Agency to take drastic measures Sunday.
The Jewish Agency's management, together with the employees committee, have decided to send all the employees out on mandatory leave for two weeks in August. Four days will be at the expense of the employees' vacation days and six days will be taken without pay.
The Jewish Agency, a private association that doesn't receive funding from the state budget – subsists on donations from 300,000 private contributors, mostly Jews from the US and Europe.
In order to finance the planned mandatory leave the agency will be taking cuts from each employee's monthly salary – one day a month for six months.
Moreover, the employees' committee has decided to donate $500,000 of its budget to the Jewish Agency. "The agency's financial difficulties are being solved at our expense," said one of the Agency's employees.
Sources involved with the inner workings of the Jewish Agency claimed that the cuts were a committee decision that came following management demands to dismiss 50 employees.
The cuts prevented the lay offs. It was claimed that these steps were all taken in order to prevent the Agency from reaching a deficit – beyond the one agreed upon with banks, suppliers and the Agency directorship which forbids it from incurring a deficit. The other option which was considered unacceptable was to cut back on Agency activities.
The Jewish Agency management released a statement in which they said: "Many not-for-profit organizations in Israel are collapsing due to the weak dollar which has decreased the extent of contributions. The fact that we work with the poor sectors of society means that we can't make cuts in our activities…
"The Agency was forced to choose between lay offs and no lay offs and chose, together with the employees' committee who are also on board, not to lay off employees. We expect an increase in income over the next few years."