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PM Netanyahu (L) and NIF Director Gitzin
Photo: AFP
NIF raises a quarter of a million shekels in donations since PM's attack
Following attack by PM Netanyahu alleging lobbying Rwandan government to bow out of agreement to receive migrants, New Israel Fund raises NIS 250,000 from 1,500 private Israeli donors, 95% of whom donated to the NGO for the first time; 'Each donation will be invested in combating refugee expulsion, strengthening south Tel Aviv,' vows NIF director.
Some 1,500 Israelis donated to the New Israel Fund (NIF) a cumulative sum of NIS 250,000 over the past twenty four hours, following allegations made Tuesday by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu concerning the NGO's alleged tampering with the asylum seeker expulsion plan.

 

 

For 95 percent of those Israeli donors, it marked the first time they donated to the NIF. The group considered the sum unprecedented, as its average daily funds raised by donations amount to only several hundred shekels.

 

Netanyahu blamed the Fund for making overtures to the Rwandan government to back out of an agreement to receive asylum seekers deported from Israel, and said that he had asked Coalition Chairman David Amsalem to create a parliamentary inquiry committee to investigate its actions.

 

Following an attack by PM Netanyahu (L), Mickey Gitzin's New Israel Fund received NIS 250,000 in donations (Photo: AFP)
Following an attack by PM Netanyahu (L), Mickey Gitzin's New Israel Fund received NIS 250,000 in donations (Photo: AFP)

 

In response, New Israel Fund Director Mickey Gitzin told Ynet his group was mulling filing a a lawsuit for libel against the premier.

 

Gitzin's rejoinder was joined by a similar attack against Netanyahu by Rwanda's Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs Olivier Nduhungirehe, who tweeted, "I am extremely surprised by (Netanyahu's) statement.

 

"My surprise comes less from the fact that Rwanda doesn't even know what this New Israel Fund is all about, but more from the assumption that a foreign NGO can successfully impose any pressure on a sovereign government."

 

Rwanda's Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs Nduhungirehe said his country did not know what the New Israel Fund was (Photo: Twitter)
Rwanda's Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs Nduhungirehe said his country did not know what the New Israel Fund was (Photo: Twitter)

 

Among the Israelis who donated to the NIF are newly elected Meretz Chairperson Tamar Zandberg, Zionist Union MKs Shelly Yachimovich and Mickey Rosenthal, playwright Shmuel Hasfari, journalist Nitzan Horowitz, satirist Uzi Weil and author Fania Oz-Salzberger, daughter of Israel Prize laureate author Amos Oz.

 

One of the less famous donors, Katya Kupchik, wrote, "I give most of my private donations to organizations in Russia. My rationale for donating in the post-Soviet realm is that it lacks a strong civil society and a body similar to the New Israel Fund to help those whose rights are in peril.

 

"In light of this new absurdity against the Fund, however, I have chosen to donate to it to voice support for its activities and to come out against the cynical incitement against it for narrow political interests on the part of the person supposed to be the responsible adult here."

 

Another donor, Tamar Rotman, wrote, "In response to Netanyahu's threat against the NIF, I did what I always do when the Right threatens human rights organizations—took out my wallet and gave to the best of my ability to support and give strength."

 

A third donor named Yotam Ya'akova wrote, "The New Israel Fund represents everything that is just and proper—peace, equality and democracy. When Netanyahu attacks, it's time to stand on the right side of history. It's time to support and remember their lies are irrelevant."

Anti-expulsion protests (Photo: Zvika Tishler)
Anti-expulsion protests (Photo: Zvika Tishler)

 

Avraham Veinfeld wrote about his donation that "since there was the possibility of adding personalization, I dedicated my donation to the person who exposed (the NIF's) blessed works"—adding an inscription with the prime minister's name.

 

The NIF's director said following the public rallying in support of his group, "I am moved by the immense support and thank everyone who has put their trust in the New Israel Fund.

 

"The number of donors and sum of donations are unprecedented on any scale. Thousands of new donors joined in the fight for Israel's democracy. Each donation will be invested in strengthening Israeli civil society and assist us in combating the expulsion of refugees and the strengthening of south Tel Aviv."

 


First published: 04.05.18, 19:33
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