Daily Israel Report

New Israel Fund's Agenda Exposed: Can't Beat Them? Join Them!

Raananim Religious Zionist Movement exposes a video interview which shows that the NIF plans to target religious Zionist groups from within.
By Elad Benari & Yoni Kempinski
First Publish: 12/26/2011, 1:03 PM

NIF logo
NIF logo
NIF website

Raananim, a Movement of the Religious Zionist's New Generation, has exposed a video clip which shows the radical leftist organization New Israel Fund’s hidden agenda to influence religious Zionism.

The video shows that NIF, which supports anti-Zionist NGOs and was exposed as a subversive element by the Im Tirtzu grassroots student organization, now plans to help fund religious-Zionist organizations in order to gain a foothold that will allow it to promote its radical leftist agenda.

It was, for example, NIF-supported organizations that gave the false evidence leading to the infamous UN Goldstone Report on Israel's Defensive Shield operation, claiming Israel targetted civilians when it was actually attempting to stop the ceaseless rockets rained on its own civilians.

The video shows NIF Director Rachel Liel being interviewed by an NIF and Peace Now spokesperson in the USA and admitting that the organization has adopted the “if you can’t beat them, join them” approach vis a vis religious Zionism, intending to change it from within by providing funding, thereby gaining influence.

“In the past, we supported many campaigns in which it was the secular fighting the religious,” she says, "on issues such as the separation of religion and state.”

Liel then says the previous approach “was only partially successful” - in changing the Zionist agenda,that is - and adds that NIF “felt from a strategic point of view” that it needs to add “organizations that come from the national religious public in Israel, that know the people, that understand the culture, that understand the language, so they can come with their ideas and people will listen to them.”

After exposing the video, Raananim, whose stated goal is unifying the religious Zionist public, has launched a public campaign to call on religious-Zionist organizations which receive funding from the New Israel Fund to stop doing so, after the organization’s plans to change the face of religious Zionism have been made public. Their campaign slogan will be "NIF -The religious Zionists are not your turf".

“The organizations within religious Zionism must understand that one hand of the NIF funds organizations such as B’Tselem and Yesh Din that launch daily attacks against the IDF and the State of Israel,” Raananim chairman Yoni Shedbon told Arutz Sheva. “It cannot be that the same hand, the same heart and the same head would also fund organizations that call themselves religious Zionist [without an agenda, ed.].”

He called on religious Zionist organizations such as the activist religious women’s group Kolech, the Ne'emanei Torah Va'Avodah movement and the Yaacov Herzog Center who have received NIF monies to “promote whatever you want to promote but do it without a connection to the NIF. It’s a destructive fund.”

In 2010 Kolech received 434,000 NIS from the NIF, and nine organizations, including Kolech, that deal with the currently controversial and divisive issue in Israel of women's place in the public domain received $35,000 each. This is an issue on which the NIF has an agenda , according to Raananim, which published the sums in the Hebrew-language Makor Rishon newspaper this past weekend. It said that the NIF funds more than 20 organizations dealing with "Jewish Pluralism and Freedom of Religion", many of whom work in the religious Zionist community, such as "Neemanei Torah Va'Avodah (a left-leaning neo-Orthodox group) and the Pelech Religious High School for Girls in Jerusalem.

Kolech, in response to the newspaper's query, answered that it is a religious Zionist organization through and through and that there are no strings attached to its acceptance of funds from the NIF.

“It cannot be that such a destructive fund, which calls itself the New Israel Fund but hurts the State of Israel’s Jewish identity, will fund organizations belonging to religious Zionism,” Shedbon said. “We’ve launched a public campaign which tells these organizations that are funded by the NIF that they’ve crossed a red line. You can promote many good things, many ideas, but not through the NIF.” 

He might have quoted the satiric version of the Golden Rule, which wisely states that "He who has the gold makes the rules."