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December 8, 2016 / 8 Kislev, 5777

Posts Tagged ‘funds’

New Israeli Crowdfunding Platform Starts Micro Funds Named After Donors [video]

Monday, September 26th, 2016

LivinGift, a new Israeli crowdfunding platform, www.LivinGift.org, has been launched a few days ago and is now raising donations for its first two social impact projects: a course training Haredi men and women seeking employment in finance, the other supporting the fair hiring of security guards and medics. The service offers donors an evergreen fund in their name, starting at $25. Donors may also launch a memorial fund or make it a gift.

The evergreen or endowment fund is made possible thanks to a unique mechanism to solve social problems: the donor chooses a social project which he or she are passionate about and donates. The social project receives the donation as a zero-interest loan. Once the social project starts repaying the loan, the donor can roll the donation for a new social project.

LivinGift’s Public Advisory Council is headed by Prof. Meir Heth, Israel’s former Banks Commissioner, Tel-Aviv Stock Exchange Chairman , Bank Leumi Chairman and Chairman of Teva Pharmaceuticals. The credit rating for ventures, will be performed by the international rating agency D&B.

Social impact enterprises seeking to get a loan from LivinGift will have to show a double impact strategy: social or environmental impact, alongside a sustainable and profitable economic model and a fixed income.

In addition, LivinGift is open for applications to all forms of organizations from around the globe: non-profits, NGOs, for-profit companies, and cooperatives. Registration is open to social impact enterprises from all sectors: health, education, animal protection, social impact technologies, environment, and support for disadvantaged populations.

Shiry Eden, LivinGift founder, said in a statement, “We believe that significant social problems can only be solved over time by organizations that have a sustainable economic model. In the long-term, our objective is to support the formation of a strong, stable and profitable fourth sector, which can be a positive influence on a range of social problems throughout the world.”

JNi.Media

Despite Possible Diversion of Charitable Funds to Hamas, Guardian Writer Slams Israel.

Monday, August 22nd, 2016

{Originally posted to the author’s eponymous blog}

If something bad happens to Jews or the Jewish state there are some, inexplicably, in British media or politics who cannot pass up the opportunity to use it against the former.

Ex-Liberal Democrat MP felt that the Jews hadn’t learned from the Holocaust. When an Egyptian judoka lost to his Israeli opponent in Rio and promptly refused to shake his hand The Economist used the opportunity to attack Israel as being an “apartheid” state.

Now, after the arrest of World Vision’s Gaza director Mohammad Halabi on allegations of diverting tens of millions of dollars to Hamas Dr Dhananjayan Sriskandarajah, secretary general and CEO of CIVICAS: World Alliance for Citizen Participation, uses the arrest as an opportunity to attack Israel’s new transparency law.

This new law obligates NGOs that receive more than 50% of their funding from foreign governments or organisations to report where the funding derives from. It doesn’t restrict their activities at all.

In an age of calls for more transparency this can hardly be classed as controversial especially when there are NGOs whose main objective for operating within the Jewish state is merely to destroy it.

But for Sriskandarajah it seems it is controversial. He sees the recent arrests of Halabi and Waheed al Borsh, a UN worker accused of diverting aid resources to help building a jetty for Hamas, as part “of systematic efforts by Israeli authorities to intimidate and undermine civil society”.

As you can see the link Sriskandarajah provides as evidence of such “systematic efforts” is to an article for Al Jazeera by arch anti-Zionist activist Ben White who once wrote “I do not consider myself an anti-Semite, yet I can also understand why some are”.

One would think that Sriskandarajah would welcome the investigation into and possible long-term incarceration of anyone convicted of such a heinous crime as diverting funds away from mentally ill and physically disabled patients in Gaza to help the Hamas terror organisation build tunnels into Israel from which to murder innocent Jewish Israelis.

Instead, Sriskandarajah merely sees it as “yet another example of states cracking down on civic space.”

World Vision is one of the DEC charities. DEC advertised widely in the UK for aid for Gazans after Israel’s 2014 war with Hamas. Therefore, the British public has possibly been inadvertently duped out of their hard-earned money in to supporting a terror group instead.

However, The Guardian’s headline to Sriskandarajah’s article “Human rights activists are being portrayed as terrorists and foreign puppets” and using a photo of activists claiming Halabi is “a man of humanity” (see above) suggests total innocence on Halabi’s part.

It is, however, very noble of Sriskandarajah to state that “Israeli government has the right to hold to account any individual or organisation found guilty of corruption.” Halabi and al Borsh will have a chance to state their cases and employ lawyers to defend themselves against the allegations.

We await the outcome of these important criminal investigations, and any more that might arise, with interest and so should Sriskandarajah.

Richard Millett

Gazans Attack UN Building with Hamas Advance Notice

Wednesday, January 28th, 2015

Dozens of Gazans broke into a United Nations facility in Gaza on Wednesday and caused great damage to the building. The protesters jumped over the walls, smashed windows and burned tires. The Gazans were protesting the freeze in transfer of funds from the UN for rehabilitating their region. The UN Special Coordinator for the Middle East Peace Process, Robert Serry said in a statement that he was “outraged” by the incident.

Gaza’s ruling Hamas terror organization reportedly knew in advance about the “protest” and warned Tuesday the enclave was on the brink of chaos.

“The Special Coordinator is outraged by the assault on the UNSCO (United Nations Special Coordinator) compound in Gaza this morning,” Serry said in his statement Wednesday afternoon, Jan 28, 2015. “During a pre-announced demonstration, of which Hamas was well aware, a number of protestors climbed the perimeter wall and entered the compound causing damage to United Nations premises and property.

“Due to precautionary measures taken, United Nations personnel working in the compound were fortunately unharmed. The Special Coordinator notes with deep concern that, despite repeated assurances, the security forces in Gaza did not take the necessary and timely measures to protect UNSCO’s compound.

“Pending a full transfer of security responsibilities to the legitimate Palestinian Authority, we continue to hold Hamas fully responsible for the security and safety of all United Nations personnel and operations in Gaza. As this serious incident took place in the context of increasing incitement against the United Nations in Gaza, the Special Coordinator is conducting an urgent review of operations in Gaza.

“As reported to the Security Council, the situation in Gaza has become extremely volatile again and will continue to deteriorate unless a number of critical underlying issues are addressed with both determination and a heightened sense of urgency. We also continue to urge donors to support humanitarian operations and fulfill the commitments they have made in Cairo for the reconstruction of Gaza,” the statement said.

The United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA) had announced earlier in the week that it has nearly run out of funds to help in rebuilding Gaza due to a huge shortfall in pledged contributions from donor nations.

“Virtually none” of the record $5.4 billion pledged by the international community for the rehabilitation of post-war Gaza months ago has managed to reach grassroots people in the region, Gaza’s UNRWA director Robert Turner said. “This is distressing and unacceptable,” he added, without specifying which countries had defaulted on their pledges or precisely how much was outstanding.

Infrastructure in the enclave was significantly damaged during last summer’s Operation Protective Edge because Hamas and other allied terrorists attacked Israel while embedded within Gaza civilian neighborhoods, using the residents as human shields.

Only $135 million of the promised donations to the UNRWA cash assistance program for 96,000 refugee families made homeless by the war was received, Turner told media. The program is intended to pay for repairs of homes and rent subsidies as well as help rebuild homes that were destroyed in the war.

“While some funds remain available to begin reconstruction of totally destroyed homes,” he said, there is no more money left for repairs and rent subsidies.

In addition, hundreds of Hamas civil service workers have been rioting off and on for weeks as well. Few if any have been paid over the past six months. Nor has the terrorist group received any money from its partner in the Palestinian Authority unity government, the rival Fatah faction based in Ramallah, Samaria.

The Fatah-ruled PA government in Ramallah pays generous monthly salaries to convicted terrorists incarcerated in Israeli prisons, however, some of which are higher than salaries paid to its own government workers.

Jewish Press Staff

Israel-Gaza Cease Fire Talks Appear Deadlocked on Disarmament

Tuesday, August 12th, 2014

Cease fire talks in Cairo appear deadlocked on the issue of disarmament, according to sources close to the negotiations.

This is the same issue that created an inconclusive end to the Second Lebanon War with the Hezbollah terror organization in the summer of 2006. Despite an eventual resolution to the conflict, Hezbollah ultimately never disarmed, and has continued as a threat to Israel from the Lebanese side of the border.

“We are facing difficult negotiations,” Hamas spokesperson Moussa Abu Marzouk told the Palestinian Arab Ma’an news agency, based in Bethlehem, on Tuesday. “The first ‘pause’ passed without any significant achievements.

“This is the second and final cease fire,” he warned.

Israeli officials, meanwhile, predicted that another 72-hour cease fire would be needed to hammer out any type of real agreement with Hamas, according to a report broadcast on Voice of Israel public radio. That, in addition to the cease fire currently in place, due to end Wednesday at midnight.

The arsenal of Hamas rockets and missiles has yet to be de-fanged, and some 300,000 Israelis remain internally displaced due to the life-threatening situation in their residential areas as a result.

A second Palestinian Arab source in Cairo who is close to the talks told the Reuters news agency on Tuesday that it would take another 24 hours before anyone could say whether an agreement could be reached.

“So far we can’t say that any breakthroughs have been achieved,” he said. “Twenty-four hours and we shall see whether we have an agreement.”

The Palestinian Arab delegation is demanding that Israel open all border crossings, allow a seaport and an airport, extend Gaza’s coastal fishing rights to 22 kilometers, increase the number and variety of materials allowed into the region and permit funds to flow into Gaza, ostensibly to pay the salaries of Hamas officials.

Israel is insisting that Hamas and all allied terrorist entities disarm, and that the region be demilitarized.

The issue of the seaport and the airport, as well as the influx of funds and free flow of materials into the region, all impact on the issue of disarmament. Hamas and its allies have misused funds and materials flowing into the region for humanitarian and civil purposes to build terrorist tunnels and purchase and create weapons with which to attack Israel instead.

Hana Levi Julian

Impurity, Heresy, and Immorality

Thursday, August 22nd, 2013

Although purity and impurity figure as essential dimensions of Judaism and Jewish law, the truth is that without the Beis HaMikdash we have little connection to the world of tahor and tameh, the pure and impure.

We have ritual washing of hands and we have the mikveh, but essentially we all remain in a state of ritual impurity.

It seems we have found a substitute, though, focusing instead on ideological purity and impurity. In recent years especially, we have seen members of the Orthodox community seeking to identify and root out heresy – whether suspected, imagined, or genuine.

We have seen this in efforts to ban books and label people as standing outside the camp. There has been particular anxiety over the “left” boundary of Orthodoxy. (Interestingly, there has not been a similar worry over heresy on the “right” boundary, despite the fact that some of what passes for basic Yiddishkeit on that end of the spectrum seems contrary to what we find in sources from Pirkei Avos through the Rambam.)

We have seen a similar focus on what we might call genetic purity and impurity, observable in heightened suspicion of and hostility to potential converts and even to people years or decades after their conversion. We have heard increasing talk of the “Jewish neshamah,” as if it is some genetic or otherwise essential aspect of our souls that makes us different from (and, in some unclear sense, “better” than) non-Jews.

The alternative perspective is that the souls of Jews and non-Jews do not differ; rather, Jews have been chosen to bear a special responsibility in this world, to be a “light unto the nations.”

What is most striking, however, is not simply the current concern with ideological heresy and impurity but the increasing passion and panic with which it has been expressed. The language and actions are strong, such as concerted efforts to push rabbis out of the Rabbinical Council of America. And the freedom of the Internet has made the “exposure” of alleged heresy easier; one only has to browse some of the comment threads on Orthodox websites to see the vitriol and unkindness expressed, often anonymously, by so many.

What happens when we step back and take a broader view of the concerns and rhetoric in the Orthodox world? It seems the most excited and passionate voices, among both centrist and right-wing groups, target ideological heresy, as if that were the greatest threat. But might we not say that the greatest threat is ethical impurity?

Why have we not mobilized with a greater or at least similar zeal to root out wrongdoing, to push people out of the Orthodox camp for corruption and criminal activity, for extortion and misuse of funds, for verbal and physical intimidation and violence?

The cynical answer, perhaps, is that we do not see morality as a matter of purity and impurity; that someone who is born Jewish and maintains proper ritual practice but engages in corruption has no lack of purity, whereas someone who is absolutely upright in his or her relationships and business dealings but whose beliefs are on the edge is an impure heretic.

Is there nothing wrong with this picture? Why are crime and corruption not considered a sort of heresy in themselves, a kind of denial of the Torah and its precepts?

Let us consider the reasons for the destruction of the two Temples: the first for the three cardinal sins of murder, sexual immorality, and idol worship; the second for sinas chinam, baseless hatred. Are these matters of ritual purity and impurity? Not really. Maybe one could argue that sexual immorality falls, in part, into such a category. Are they matters of ideological purity and impurity? Well, for idol worship, yes. Are they matters of moral purity and impurity? With the possible exception of idol worship, certainly.

When the prophets railed against the people, did they do so because of incorrect beliefs or because of corruption and immorality?

We lost our Temples largely due to ethical failure. Not heresy, but immorality. And yet today, when we claim to mourn our ongoing exile and the loss of the Beis HaMikdash, how do we direct our passion, our anxiety, our anger?

Alan Krinsky

Sen. Leahy: Obama Secretly Suspended Egypt Military Aid

Tuesday, August 20th, 2013

The office of Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-VT), head of the Appropriations State and Foreign Operations Subcommittee, told The Daily Beast that military aid to Egypt has been temporarily cut off.

“[Senator Leahy’s] understanding is that aid to the Egyptian military has been halted, as required by law,” said David Carle, a spokesman for Leahy.

If it’s done as required by law, why is the U.S. government keeping it a secret that it believes the regime change in Egypt was a military coup? If it is, indeed, temporarily suspending most of the military aid to Egypt, where is the public announcement that we don’t send money to governments that were installed by a coup?

After skewering Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu hard—through the good services of the NY Times—for his attempts to preserve stability in Egypt and the integrity of the peace treaty, now the administration is attempting to punish the naughty Egyptian generals, but without making a big deal out of it.

State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki was asked on Monday about the suspended aid, and told reporters the aid is not officially suspended.

I suppose the Egyptians can use the officially unsuspended aid money the same way Israelis can live in the officially unfrozen homes in East Jerusalem…

“After sequestration withholding, approximately $585 million remains unobligated. So, that is the amount that is unobligated,” Psaki said.

I looked up “unobligated” and means funds that have been appropriated but remain uncommitted by contract at the end of a fiscal period. In other words, an I keep, you don’t get kind of relationship.

“But it would be inaccurate to say that a policy decision has been made with respect to the remaining assistance funding,” Psaki clarified.

In other words, I keep, you don’t get, but it’s not forever.

The Daily Beast quotes two Administration officials who explain it was the government lawyers who decided it would be more prudent to observe the law restricting military aid in case of a coup, while not making a public statement that a coup had taken place.

Bret Stephens, a deputy editorial page editor of The Wall Street Journal, wrote on Monday (A Policy on Egypt—Support Al Sisi):

“What’s realistic and desirable is for the military to succeed in its confrontation with the Brotherhood as quickly and convincingly as possible. Victory permits magnanimity. It gives ordinary Egyptians the opportunity to return to normal life. It deters potential political and military challenges. It allows the appointed civilian government to assume a prominent political role. It settles the diplomatic landscape. It lets the neighbors know what’s what.”

By taking the opposite approach, making it harder for the new Egyptian government to bring the internal conflict to a conclusion, the Obama Administration is promoting and prolonging chaos in yet another country. Which is why, I suspect, Senator Leahy has spoken to the Daily Beast in the first place, to stop this blind march over the cliff.

Middle East analyst Brian Katulis from the Center for American Progress, told the Beast he thought the Administration was “trying to maintain maximum flexibility,” but he suggested that this horse is long out of the barn. “Egypt’s struggle has become so intense, polarized, and violent, and I worry that no matter what move the United States makes now, the competing power centers in Egypt might continue down the dangerous course they’ve headed.”

Unless, of course, the U.S. is making clear, with loud noises and a light show, that it supports stability in Egypt, and in order to hasten new elections, it will not suspend military aid to Egypt. In fact, with its financial and military might, the U.S. will do everything it can to restore stability and democracy in Egypt.

But that would require President Obama to get over the insult of the Egyptian nation ignoring his wishes and dethroning his favorite Muslim Brother president.

Yori Yanover

A Call to Action: Shut Down the Claims Conference

Thursday, August 1st, 2013

By Naomi Vilko, MD

Many Jewish Americans are unaware not only of the sordid behavior of the Claims Conference (Conference on Jewish Material Claims against Germany); they are also unaware of its existence and mission. Established in 1951, the Claims Conference has the tasks of negotiating for compensation and restitution for Jewish victims of Nazi persecution and of distributing payments from the German government to individual Jewish Holocaust survivors and the social services agencies that serve them.

Shamefully, $57.3 million intended for survivors was stolen from the Claims Conference by 31 people – 11 of them employees – over 16 years. [For more information, please read Isi Leibler’s numerous articles covering the Claims Conference scandal on his blog.] Now, influential Jews including Ronald Lauder, President of the World Jewish Congress and Natan Sharansky, Chairman of the Jewish Agency for Israel have insisted upon an independent investigation into the Claims Conference fraud as well as a change in its leadership and governance. I am grateful to Rabbi Mark Golub of Shalom TV, Isi Leibler of The Jerusalem Post and staff writers from The Jewish Daily Forward and The Jewish Week who have been following the Claims Conference scandal and pressing for justice for the survivors. I hope that we can mobilize the Jewish community to quickly close this corrupt agency and transfer the funds to another agency who will distribute them in time to help those in need.

Many Holocaust survivors have not received compensation for their suffering and losses because for some of these aging victims, the process is simply too painful; others have not received compensation because the Claims Conference is at best, difficult and obstructionist, and at worst, corrupt. Claims Conference officials have also continued to expand the definition of “Jewish victim of Nazi persecution”. Today, it administers programs providing funds not just to those who survived ghettos, concentration camps, forced labor battalions and death marches, but to anyone who fled Nazi invasion, lived in hiding, or lived under curfew. As a Psychiatrist specializing in trauma, I am well aware that it is difficult to tease out the quantitative and qualitative differences between different traumatic experiences – but I am certain that those who survived concentration camps (the youngest of whom are in their 80s) should receive assistance immediately and without the frustration of dealing with the uncaring staff of the Claims Conference and its various agencies.

My mother and I have dealt with the issue of reparations since my father, a survivor of 5 concentration camps, death marches, Hungarian forced labor and a ghetto, died suddenly in 1962. My father was denied any compensation. As his widow and a survivor herself, my mother appealed, but the appeals were denied. Recently, I again contacted several Jewish agencies in a futile attempt to assist my now 92-year-old mother with paying for her home-care. I was astounded to learn that if she only needed assistance 20 hours/week, she would receive funds, but since she requires 24-hour assistance (which she pays for herself) she will receive nothing to defray the expense. We were advised that she could go on Medicaid and/or be sent to a nursing home.

Jewish social agencies are doing the best they can to help survivors, but they say that they have limited funds. After helping themselves to large salaries and allowing fraud to persist under their noses for over a decade, is it any surprise that the Claims Conference does not have enough funds for the survivors it “claims” to serve? Furthermore, while it is commendable in theory for the Claims Conference to work to expand eligibility for these funds, I must ask: if there is not enough money available to help the survivors who have already been identified, what is the result of such efforts beyond making the bread lines longer?

It is an outrage and an embarrassment that the Claims Conference has continued to operate without oversight, even after failing in its responsibility to adequately investigate and prosecute the fraud for so many years. We must shut down the Claims Conference and transfer the funds to an existing agency, such as the Jewish Federation or the World Jewish Congress that can quickly prioritize the way funds are distributed to survivors. We have an obligation to take care of those who have been tortured and enslaved because they are Jewish – before it’s too late.

There are many survivors who have no children to care for or advocate for them and who live isolated lives in apartments with no services and little human contact. My hope is that raising awareness of the additional psychological trauma survivors experience as a result of the reparations and compensation processes and, specifically, the New York based Claims Conference itself, may lead the Jewish people to take action. Let’s face it: The Jewish people have not adequately taken care of the survivors, who are now extremely elderly and dying. They are entitled to live the last years of their lives with dignity.

Guest Author

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/indepth/opinions/a-call-to-action-shut-down-the-claims-conference/2013/08/01/

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