JNF: Projects bloom in desert sand

By Jenni Frazer, July 2, 2009

As far as the eye can see, there is sand. Somewhere over the horizon to the south west, there is Egypt; Gaza is close by, too. But one can see no landmarks, no signposts.

And then you turn on your heel and you see familiar net-covered structures, signifying Israeli agri-tech. And right here, in the middle of this vast Negev nothingness, a group of people are growing food in the sand.


Hayek bid to replant JNF in our hearts

By Simon Rocker, July 2, 2009

When Samuel Hayek became chairman of JNF UK, British Jewry’s third biggest fundraising charity, nearly 18 months ago, few people knew what to make of the Israeli-born businessman.

Beyond donations of “a few thousand” to charities here and there, he had no track record in the higher echelons of communal philanthropy.


Protest as charity chief is honoured

By Marcus Dysch, June 18, 2009

A leading pro-Israel charity has complained to the Cabinet Office over the award of an OBE to the former chief executive of its one-time parent charity.

The award to Simon Winters for services to the voluntary sector was announced in the Queen’s Birthday Honours List on Saturday. He was among around a dozen members of the Jewish community to be recognised.
Mr Winters, who parted company with JNF UK last summer after the arrival of the new chairman Samuel Hayek, was criticised by a High Court judge after a failed legal action against lawyers Mishcon de Reya.


No answers to questions on JNF funds

By Leon Symons, February 26, 2009

A row has broken out between JNF UK, some of its donors and a charity in Israel, over $1 million (£687,778) in donations.

Project Or, a non-governmental organisation founded nine years ago to build and develop new communities in the Negev and Galilee, has claimed that JNF has not passed on the money, which was pledged at a dinner at Claridges in January 2007.


JNF weekend earns over £50k for Sderot

By Jonathan Kalmus, February 12, 2009

Responding to a plea from Sderot for funding for a secure park for children, JNF Manchester raised over £50,000 at the weekend.

Almost £5,000 was brought in from a party at the Bijou bar in the city centre on Saturday evening. Close on 400 people attended the event, staged by JNF’s new Unite group, catering for 21-to-40-year-olds.

The bulk of the money was brought in from JNF’s annual Green Sunday telephone appeal. Thirty volunteers manned phones at the charity’s Manchester offices in Mamlock House.


JNF praised for openness

December 4, 2008

JNF UK has made “a vast improvement” in providing information about its spending, according to Intelligent Giving, an independent organisation which monitors charities.

British Jewry’s third largest fundraising organisation received a 60 per cent rating from IG for openness and transparency .

That compares favourably with JNF’s previous scores of 32 per cent and 25 per cent, which had placed it close to the bottom of the list of Jewish charities evaluated.


Peace deal ends JNF dispute

November 20, 2008

A 10-year row between the UK branch of the Jewish National Fund and Keren Kayemet Leyisrael has come to an end, with the signing of an agreement between the two organisations.


JNF man ‘pays court £100,000’

October 30, 2008

Informed sources have told the JC that Simon Winters, the former chief executive of JNF UK, has paid an estimated £100,000 to the High Court in respect of his lost action against leading law firm Mishcon de Reya.

Mr Winters, who left the charity this summer, had sought an injunction to prevent Mishcon acting for JNF UK in a dispute over the termination of his employment, claiming there was a conflict of interest.

Mr Winters was ordered to pay £100,000, representing 70 percent of Mishcon's costs.


Revealed: the secret JNF cash transfers

By Anshel Pfeffer, October 24, 2008

Hundreds of thousands of pounds were transferred from JNF UK to an Israeli organisation set up by its former leaders without being stated in the JNF accounts, it has emerged.

The activities of Nes Eretz Israel came to a light during an unsuccessful High Court action recently brought by the JNF's ex-chief executive, Simon Winters.


Judge: I found Winters’ evidence sometimes demonstrably false

October 17, 2008

"In 1996 the claimant, Simon Winters, became the chief executive of the UK branch of the JNF. He continued to hold that post until at least June of this year, when his present solicitors, George Davies LLP, wrote to the then President of the JNF, Gail Seal, on June 25 claiming that his position as chief executive had been undermined by changes being made to the management structure of the JNF, and that the JNF had fundamentally breached his contract of employment.