Israel Resource Review 19th December, 2002


An Open Letter to the Shefa Fund
David Bedein

The Directors of the Shefa Fund dispatched a letter this week, which deserves a ten point response and a solid offer to the Shefa Fund. Their letter appeared on the December 15th issue of Israel Resource Review.

  1. The Shefa Fund claims that it is committed to the "emphatic support for the State of Israel"

  2. The Shefa Fund acknowledges that it is involved in grant-making to "Yesh G'vul" and "Courage to Refuse" (CTR), to the tune of $160,000 this past year

  3. The Shefa Fund claims that "Yesh G'vul" and "Courage to Refuse" (CTR) do not to encourage desertion from the Israeli military, despite the fact that this is precisely what both organizations do, as they distribute letters, leaflets and internet messages every day in praise of IDF reservists and new IDF inductees who desert their IDF units rather than engage in the current war against PLO terrorists who escape to safe havens in Judea, Samaria, Gaza and Jerusalem.

  4. The Shefa Fund prefers to couch their desertion campaign as "selective refusal of military service", which is exactly what desertion is.

  5. The Shefa Fund defines Yesh G'vul as one of Israel's oldest peace organizations, despite the fact that the mainstream Israeli peace movement, Peace Now,consistently denounces any group or organization that advocates desertion from IDF military service.

  6. The Shefa Fund asserts that CTR "works only with reservists, not with soldiers who are under compulsory service". Tonight, Yesh Gvul and CTR have scheduled a widely publicized rally in honor of young inductees to IDF compulsory service who are now sitting in prison for deserting their units rather than pursue PLO killers in Judea, Samaria and Gaza. So much for the Shefa claim that they are "only working with reservists".

  7. The Shefa Fund claims that "Yesh G'vul and CTR conduct activities that are legal", despite the fact that Yesh G'vul, registered as Israel Non Profit Organization, number #58-039186-0, was disbanded as a non-profit organization on December 31, 1997, because of "financial irregularities" and remained disbanded until June 2002 when it was established as a profit-making corporation, listed in the Israel Corporate Registrar, number 51-325106-6. According to the Israeli law, it was a felony for Yesh G'vul to solicit or to receive funds, from Israel or from abroad, from the time it was disbanded as a non-profit organization until the time it was registered as a corporation. More important, since when is it "legal" to encourage Israeli citizens to engage in the felonious act of desertion from the IDF?

  8. The Shefa Fund asserts that neither Yesh G'vul nor CTR pay Israeli soldiers when they desert the IDF. It would seem that the Shefa Fund does not read the websites of CTR at in which CTR announces, both in Hebrew and in English, that pay deserters for "the time that they spend in jail" to cover their mortgage, tuition, rent and day-care for their children - which is much more than an IDF soldier would get from the Israeli government's meager "national security" allowance during IDF regular or reserve service. Imagine what would happen if the IDF paid the tuition, mortgage, rent and day-care for its soldiers while they are on reserve duty?

  9. The Shefa Fund has therefore created the first financial incentive system to make it profitable for an Israeli soldier to desert the Israeli army.

  10. The Shefa Fund reports runs millions of dollars worth of health, education and welfare programs for the Jewish community. If the Shefa Fund does not want to hurt its own programs, the time has come for the Shefa Fund to reconsider its support for organizations that advocate desertion from the IDF.

An offer:

If the Shefa Fund ceases its support for Yesh G'vul and CTR, Israel Resource News Agency investigations of the Shefa Fund will cease.

If the Shefa Fund continues to support these organizations, Israel Resource News Agency investigations of the Shefa Fund will continue.

As a social work professional and as a religious Jew, I have no interest in hurting health, education and welfare programs that are sorely needed in the Jewish community.

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