A little over a year ago we began an investigation on this site into the Central Fund for Israel, a New York-based non profit foundation that raises tax deductible donations in the U.S. to support the Israeli settler movement. We found that they are funding settler militias, and that they have some very well know donors.
Writing in Haaretz, Akiva Eldar has now expanded upon the story by uncovering that the Central Fund is also supporting the the Od Yosef Chai Shechem yeshiva in the West Bank settlement Yitzhar near Nablus. The head of a yeshiva, Rabbi Yitzhak Shapira, recently made headlines when he wrote a book justifying the murder of non-Jews if they pose a theoretical threat to Israel. Eldar writes:
How can President Barack Obama object to furthering education in a settlement like Yitzhar, located in the heart of the West Bank? After all, his own tax revenues contribute to the flourishing of the Od Yosef Chai Shechem yeshiva, the settlement's crowning glory.
This is the same yeshiva whose rabbi said it is permissible to kill gentile babies because of "the future danger that will arise if they are allowed to grow into evil people like their parents." In his latest book, the head of the yeshiva, Yitzhak Shapira, who bears the honorable title of rabbi, even permits killing anyone "who, through his remarks and so forth, weakens our kingdom" (Obama, beware!).
On November 17, this column reported that the Education Ministry's division for Torah institutions transferred more than NIS 1 million to this yeshiva in 2006 and 2007. The Welfare Ministry made do with a mere NIS 150,000.
A report on donations submitted by the yeshiva to the registrar of nonprofit organizations revealed that the American public also participates in financing the message coming out of Yitzhar. It states that in 2007 and 2008, the yeshiva received NIS 102,547 from an American foundation known as the Central Fund of Israel.
Eldar is right to point out the contradiction in US policy that criticizes Israeli settlements on one hand, and helps subsidize their growth with the other. Luckily there are organizations like the American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee working to change this. Please support this important work.