IDF Soldiers (illustrative)
IDF Soldiers (illustrative)Flash 90

The Jewish National Fund’s UK branch initiated this week a visit to Israel by a special delegation of fourteen key people from Britain, including business executives, philanthropists and representatives from the British military.

The purpose of the visit was to enable the delegates to see Israel firsthand through tours of the country. The delegation met with the residents of Sderot and southern Israel, who have been living under the reality and threat of terrorism for years.

JNF also initiated a meeting with Israel’s political leaders, allowing guests to personally meet and talk with ministers and public representatives such as Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu, Ministers Moshe Ya'alon and Gideon Saar, and others.

David Goodman, executive director of JNF-UK, told Arutz Sheva on Thursday that JNF funds construction and educational programs in Israel, adding, “JNF-UK is the leading fundraising organization for the citizens of Israel in Britain. We support construction projects across the country in general and in the Negev in particular, and help in promoting projects in the fields of education, society and ecology. JNF raises about $25 million annually to finance these projects.”

Speaking about the visit of the British delegation to Israel, Goodman noted that one of the visitors was Commander Richard Kemp, who testified in front of the Goldstone Commission, which accused Israel of committing war crimes in Gaza, that the IDF made a strong effort to safeguard the lives of Gaza's civilians during its counterterrorist operation in early 2009.

Kemp had testified that “During Operation Cast Lead, the Israeli Defense Forces did more to safeguard the rights of civilians in a combat zone than any other army in the history of warfare. Israel did so while facing an enemy that deliberately positioned its military capability behind the human shield of the civilian population.”

According to Goodman, Kemp “supports both Israel and IDF policies and was the one who told the UN that of all the armies, the IDF is the most moral army in the world.”

He added that JNF-UK aims to continue the Zionist vision of Herzl, saying, “It's an organization that only supports Israel and our focus now is mainly the Negev. We have supporters who love Israel and not just Jewish supporters. These are people who love the country.”

“They support projects throughout Israel,” said Goodman. “They were very excited about their tour this week, because that's what makes the difference between hearing about what is happening here and actually experiencing it.”