Minister Daniel Hershkowitz
Minister Daniel HershkowitzIsrael news photo: Flash 90

Residents of Givat Shmuel sent a letter on Wednesday to the Minister of Science and Technology, Rabbi Prof. Daniel Hershkowitz, in which they asked him not to take part in an event being organized by the Neemanei Torah VeAvodah organization.

The reason for the request is the organization’s affiliation with the radical leftist New Israel Fund.

“The Neemanei Torah VeAvodah organization is legitimate and we also identify with some of its goals,” the residents wrote Hershkowitz. “Unfortunately it has turned out that the movement is supported by the New Israel Fund - a fund which attacks daily Israel’s right to exist.”

“As residents of Givat Shmuel and as religious Zionists, we ask the honorable Minister Hershkowitz not to attend the movement’s conference on Saturday night, as long as the movement is supported by the above mentioned fund,” they added.

The residents stressed that religious Zionists joining the New Israel Fund is “dangerous” and gives legitimacy to the NIF among Jews abroad.

The letter comes after last week Raananim, a movement that defines itself as “Religious Zionism’s New Generation”, exposed a video clip which shows the NIF’s hidden agenda to influence religious Zionism.

The video shows that NIF, which has supported 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.

On Sunday, members of Raananim held a protest outside the headquarters of Ne'emanei Torah Va'Avodah, one of the religious-Zionist movements that receive funding from the NIF. During the protest, the Raananim activists held up huge checks "signed" by NIF and its subsidiary Shatil.

Neemanei Torah VeAvodah rejected the claims, saying the group, a neo-Orthodox movement, is completely independent and follows only the Torah.

In response to the residents of Givat Shmuel’s letter, Minister Hershkowitz said on Wednesday that he has invited to his office the representatives of Neemanei Torah VeAvodah and Raananim to discuss ways to prevent the NIF’s attempt to influence religious Zionism. The meeting will take place next week. Hershkowitz did not specify whether he still plans to attend the movement’s conference.

Minister Hershkowitz added that it has been previously proven that the NIF undermines Israel as a Jewish and democratic state and acts against IDF soldiers. He called on both Neemanei Torah VeAvodah and Raananim to work together.