from The London Jewish Chronicle:
A row has broken out between JNF UK, some of its donors and a charity in Israel, over $1 million (£687,778) in donations.
Project Or, a non-governmental organisation founded nine years ago to build and develop new communities in the Negev and Galilee, has claimed that JNF has not passed on the money, which was pledged at a dinner at Claridges in January 2007.
This week JNF defended its position and gave the JC access to a report ordered by chairman Samuel Hayek. The report accused Project Or of using as expenses £50,000 that was destined for Shomriya, a former Negev kibbutz used to provide a home for 100 families displaced from Atzmona, in Gaza, when Israel left in 2005.
The report, compiled by four JNF personnel led by JNF Charitable Trust director Elan Gorji, said that of a total of £683,040 raised from the dinner, so far £321,255 had been transferred to Or “for projects they have recommended”.
Earlier this month, Mr Hayek wrote to the donors to assuage concerns about distribution of funds, telling them of the report and that JNF was still waiting for answers to some of its questions.
But Project Or co-founder and vice-president Ofir Fisher rejected JNF’s version of events, saying: “They say they are waiting for answers from us. It’s really untrue. We sent them all the details and gave them answers to all their questions before the year ended.