Raising funds for the IDF might become more difficult after the LIBI Fund’s
entire governing board resigned this week to protest Defense Minister Ehud
Barak’s decision to appoint a political crony to head the nonprofit
organization, which collects money for soldiers.
The resignation of the
five board members – who all worked pro bono – came on Sunday after Barak
announced his decision to appoint Asher Goldschlager, a top Histadrut labor
federation official, to head the fund, which operates under the Defense
The previous chairman, Maj.-Gen. (res.) Danny Matt –
former coordinator of government activities in the territories – stepped down
from the post several years ago.
Members slammed Barak for using the LIBI
Fund, which collected NIS 30 million for the IDF in 2010 – the most since it was
established in 1980 by then-chief of General Staff Rafael Eitan – as a political
tool to satisfy Labor Party cronies.
“I am afraid that people will not
want to donate money to an organization that is run by political appointees,”
said one of the board members. “There is also an inherent problem in having a
political crony give orders to IDF soldiers who work for the LIBI
LIBI funds are used to help soldiers complete their education,
with a particular emphasis on new immigrant soldiers who receive special
assistance in learning Hebrew and about Israeli society.
The fund also
supports the annual IDF trips to visit Nazi concentration and death camps in
The fund also has a US branch called American Friends of LIBI,
which collected about $1m. over the past year for a wide range of projects,
including the procurement of life-saving medical equipment such as combat
gauzes, tourniquets and combat respirators.
Barak’s office and
Goldschlager could not be reached for comment.
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