The New Israel Fund has launched new program preparing Israel’s future judges for civil liberties advocacy and judicial activism. According to a report on the NIF’s activities, the preparation course focuses on human rights issues as well as ways to combat Jewish nationalism in the State of Israel.

In an interview with Arutz 7, Hebrew University Professor Moshe Eifergen said, “They found the most critical way to affect Israel’s destiny without the need for 40 mandates in a general election - Israel’s court system – so they are investing in it.” Eifergen has been distributing a comprehensive report on the activities of the New Israel Fund, which helped fund the distribution of Yossi Beilin’s ‘Geneva Initiative’ to every home in Israel.

Eifergen claims the NIF is very cautious not to be connected to politics directly, though an examination of Yossi Beilin’s web site reveals that most of the links to affiliated organizations are NIF subsidiaries.

Professor Eifergen explained that the New Israel Fund was founded 21 years ago by heads of the extreme left-wing Peace Now organization, who founded it for social action purposes. The NIF is based in the United States, from where it receives most of its contributions, but initiates most of its projects in Israel. It is headed by Moshe Yaari, a former reporter for Israel Radio.

“Since 1987,” said Eifergen, “the Fund has shifted radically to the left, and is now considered a radical left-wing organization on every level – socially, economically and also politically. Hundreds of organizations are under its sponsorship, including The Committee for Personal Rights, The Arab Association for Human Rights, The Center Against Racism Aimed at the Palestinian Society of Israel and The Public Committee Against Torture in Israel among others.”

The NIF has 28 million dollars at its disposal, together with thousands of US donors each year. The Fund has learned to be an expert fundraiser, though according to Professor Eifergen, many donors are unaware of the final destination of their money or the basic principles the Fund stands for.

According to Eifergen, the European Union funds Shateel, the activist branch of the NIF. He described Shateel as the body directly involved with all of the subordinate organizations. Funds are granted to the various organizations and Shateel coordinates actions between them. “Shateel is a professional founder of non-profit organizations, building them from scratch while shaping their agenda – all under the supposed neutral sponsorship of a support/advisory role.”

Eifergen stressed that the main focus of the NIF has shifted toward the courts. He said that Eliezer Yaari, Director General of the Fund, wrote recently that the NIF must concern itself with the autonomy and exclusivity of Israel’s Supreme Court. In a recent report, the NIF outlined its achievements, most of which were victories in the Supreme Court. “They understand,” said Professor Eifergen, “that judicial activism is the most efficient way to reach their goals. Preserving the autonomy of the Supreme Court is at the core of the Fund’s guidelines, because through the halls of Israel’s Supreme Court they can drastically affect Israeli society without the need for elections.”

The NIF’s preparatory program for future Israeli judges takes place in the US. Upon their return to Israel, participants will work with NIF-sponsored organizations. Eifergen said that graduates of the program run the Minerva Center at Hebrew University and its legal center in Tel Aviv.