Calling on the JNF to reverse its discrimination

'We expect the JNF to fulfill its purpose of making the land of Israel bloom and supporting the Jewish pioneers who do so.'

Mordechai Sones,

JNF tree planting
JNF tree planting
Flash 90

The holiday of Tu B’Shvat, the "New Year of the Trees", was recently celebrated with the planting of trees throughout Israel. Like every year, thousands of children and young adults took part and received thousands of saplings from the Jewish National Fund (JNF).

The rules for receiving saplings from the JNF include an obligation by the recipient that the area where the saplings will be planted has sufficient irrigation and that the recipient will tend to the saplings. Approvals are usually given very quickly and the recipient then receives the saplings.

This past Tu B’Shvat, residents realized that the situation in Judea and Samaria is different. Residents of Judea and Samaria had to undergo a more lengthy approval process that was required to start a month prior to receiving the saplings. During the process, the recipient was required to accept illegal conditions set by the Civil Administration as the JNF defers decisions to them. As a result, residents of Judea and Samaria were discriminated against in relation to residents of other parts of Israel.

The Lev HaOlam organization, which supports Jewish producers in Judea and Samaria and works to build connections to Israel supporters abroad, sent a letter to the Chairman of the JNF, Daniel Atar, in response to the situation. The letter called on the JNF to reverse its discriminatory policy against residents of Judea and Samaria.

“It has come to our attention that the JNF has imposed additional conditions on Jews in Judea and Samaria who would like to plant trees near their homes in honor of Tu B’Shvat. We strongly condemn these actions and demand that the JNF immediately reverse its decision.”

The letter continued, “The JNF’s goal is to ‘act in the name of the Jewish people as a loyal servant appointed by the Jewish people over the Land of Israel….’ However, through its actions in Judea and Samaria, the JNF has violated this calling and harmed not only Jews living in Israel but also Jews abroad as well.

“This discrimination by the JNF contradicts its founding charter and represents misuse of public funds. The vast majority of donors around the world that we have encountered have strongly opposed these actions by the JNF,” noted the letter.

Atty. Nati Rom
Lev HaOlam

The letter concluded with a call to reverse the decision. “We call on the JNF to reverse its decision and to use the donations it receives for their intended purpose - namely, supporting Jewish pioneering efforts in the Holy Land. The discrimination against residents of Judea and Samaria must immediately end.”

Attorney Nati Rom, CEO of Lev HaOlam, was signed on the letter. He commented, “We expect the JNF to fulfill its purpose of making all the land of Israel bloom and to support the Jewish pioneers who do so. This is especially true in Judea and Samaria, the land of our forefathers where the Bible took place, where the Tomb of the Patriarchs is located, and where the Mishkan stood in Shilo. This is where the prophets led Israel into the land and there is no justification for harming the Jewish residents of Judea and Samaria who represent the renewal of the Jewish people in this region.

"Israel supporters expect the JNF, which has been supported by their donations for many years to continue to fulfill its purpose and to take part in developing the entire land of Israel. Together we can overcome all the struggles we face and continue the Zionist vision of making the desert bloom and strengthening the Jewish presence in the land of Israel.”

Rom's letter reads:

To: Daniel Atar, JNF World Chairman

My name is Nati Rom, Attorney and Founder of the “Lev HaOlam” Organization which fights against the international boycott of Israel. We do so by assisting small businesses in Judea and Samaria market their products internationally to thousands of Israel supporters worldwide.

As part of our work we maintain close relationships with these supporters around the world. They act as ambassadors for Israel abroad and provide economic support to producers in Judea and Samaria.

It has come to our attention that the JNF has imposed additional conditions on Jews in Judea and Samaria who would like to plant trees near their homes in honor of Tu B’Shvat. We strongly condemn these actions and demand that the JNF immediately reverse its decision.

We have received harsh complaints from Israel supporters around the world who are outraged that the JNF is taking part in discrimination against the residents of Judea and Samaria.

The JNF’s goal is to “act in the name of the Jewish people and as a loyal servant appointed by the Jewish people over the Land of Israel.” This is expressed by work to develop barren land in Israel in order to make the ‘desert bloom’ in the State of Israel. However, through its actions in Judea and Samaria, the JNF has violated this calling and harmed not only Jews living in Israel but also Jews abroad as well. This discrimination by the JNF contradicts its founding charter and represents misuse of public funds. The vast majority of donors around the world we have encountered have strongly opposed these actions by the JNF.

We call on the JNF to reverse its decision and to use the donations it receives for their intended purpose- namely supporting the Jewish pioneering efforts in the Holy Land. The discrimination against residents of Judea and Samaria must immediately end.

In anticipation of your prompt reply on this matter,

Attorney Nati Rom




top