Jewish National Fund-Keren Kayemet Le’Yisrael in spotlight on transparency

By Anshel Pfeffer, May 8, 2014

Ministers are calling for greater transparency from the Jewish National Fund-Keren Kayemet Le’Yisrael (JNF-KKL), which holds around 15 per cent of Israeli land “for the benefit of the Jewish people.”

On Sunday, a cabinet legislative committee moved to put JNF-KKL under the supervision of the state comptroller.

JNF-KKL has come under increasing criticism over claims that, while it has ownership of around 15 per cent of all land in Israel and makes over NIS 1 billion annually from real-estate deals, the decisions on how it distributes funds to various projects and its ballooning expenditure on legal affairs and PR do not undergo any public scrutiny.

On Sunday, Justice Minister Tzipi Livni proposed that JNF-KKL be regulated by the state comptroller in the same way as government departments are. JNF-KKL has resisted such moves, arguing they were a private entity acting on behalf of “all the Jewish people.”

While the proposal was voted down 5-4, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu decided to refer the issue to a special committee that will try to redefine the status of the fund.

JNF-UK is a separate entity which raises funds in Britain for environmental projects in Israel.

Last updated: 10:45pm, May 8 2014