The Jewish National Fund UK, the largest British fund for Israel, is demanding that the JNF-KKL (Jewish National Fund in Israel) hand over all information regarding lands purchased by JNF UK or face legal actions.
This request is pursuant to the state's preliminary acceptance of the "Gadish agreement" between Israel and KKL-JNF, in which KKL-JNF lands will be transferred to the state, and arrives prior to its final signing.
KKL-JNF serves as a land trust and, in this context, has purchased lands using funds from JNF UK. In recent years, KKL-JNF has refrained from transferring information to the British fund regarding the extent and location of lands purchased with their money.
The British fund is demanding this information be handed over, prior to the signing of the agreement. According to JNF UK, such information is required by British laws and regulations for British funds and trusts.
The Israeli government and KKL-JNF are in the midst of final discussions prior to the signing of the agreement between them, in which KKL-JNF agrees to transfer lands it owns in central Israel in exchange for receiving lands in the periphery (10% in the Galilee and 90% in the Negev).
Because of the disparity between land value in central Israel to land value in the periphery, the agreement also grants KKL-JNF USD 1.3 billion of reparations.
Reforms approved by government
The agreement is one of the recommendations issued by a committee headed by the late Yaacov Gadish, dealing with reform of the Israel Lands Administration. These reforms were approved by the government in May of 2005.
When it came to JNF UK's attention that KKL-JNF and the Israeli government were close to signing a binding agreement, they approached KKL-JNF, via the fund's president, Gail Seal, in order to ensure that the Gadish agreement would not contradict existing agreements between JNF UK and KKL-JNF.
Seal demanded to receive details of those lands purchased with the fund's money that will be transferred to the state as part of the imminent agreement.
According to Seal, in order to sign the new agreement, KKL-JNF must first present all of the information regarding lands purchased by funds from British donors. In a letter sent to Prime Minister Ehud Olmert last week, Seal asked for the prime minister's intervention in the matter.