The Jewish Agency, the Government and the $12 million

Last week, The Jerusalem Post published a story, Gov’t may fill Jewish Agency’s coffers, that suggested “For the first time, the government is considering becoming a direct funder of the Jewish Agency.” The story continued, “According to a government source, the Finance Ministry is preparing to contribute up to $12 million toward the shortfall. While Finance Ministry officials oppose the plan, the order to make the funds available came from the Prime Minister’s Office, the source said.”

Since this confirmed tidbits we’ve been hearing around Israel for the past month, we both linked to the story and ran a piece the next day on what this might mean in practice. The JTA and many other media publications did the same.

eJewish Philanthropy has since learned we were all off-track.

Yes, apparently, an agreement in principal was reached, at the highest levels, to provide approximately $12 million to the Jewish Agency. However, this amount is an advance against the sale of housing units, and secured by same, from the Jewish Agency’s subsidiary company, Amigour, for units that will be sold over the next several years.

We have also learned there is no plan for any government money to go into the Jewish Agency budget. The government is acting strictly as a lender, and not as a funder. We have also been assured there is no interest on either the government’s part, or the Agency’s part, to alter the current legal structure between the two, a step that would be necessary if the government were to directly fund the Agency.