Survey: No change in donations to Israeli charities from American Jews

By
August 15, 2017 05:48

The head of the Reform Movement in Israel, Rabbi Gilad Kariv, said he was not surprised by the findings of the study.

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People participate in the "Celebrate Israel" parade along 5th Ave. in New York City, US, June 4 2017

People participate in the "Celebrate Israel" parade along 5th Ave. in New York City, US, June 4, 2017. . (photo credit:REUTERS/STEPHANIE KEITH)

Two months after the disputes between the Israeli government and American Jewish organizations over prayer arrangements at the Western Wall and the issue of conversion, Israeli charities and nonprofits are seeing no impact on donations from US Jewry, according to a study conducted by Jgive.com, a popular Israeli online donations platform.

In the aftermath of the two disputes, outraged leaders and members of major American Jewish organizations threatened to reconsider donations to Israeli causes.

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Israeli charities and nonprofits were alarmed that this would affect their causes, which rely heavily on the generosity of the American Jewish community.

With the annual Jewish High Holy Days season kicking off in a month, Israeli charities and nonprofit organizations are preparing their appeals for what is traditionally the most productive period of the year for contributions.

Jgive.com surveyed the more than 400 Israeli charities registered and presented on its platform, in order to evaluate the situation. Organizations, responding anonymously, reported no change in donations compared to previous years.

Several respondents noted that donors informed them that the situation would not affect their contributions.

“Our commitment to Israeli causes is not conditional,” and “We are not pleased with the decisions of the Israeli government but it does not mean we will punish those in need of our donations” were comments reported by the charities. Others reported that their donors expressed indifference to the situation.

“We are pleased to see that the political debate between Israel and American Jewry has had no effect on donations, but we are not surprised by this,” said Ori Ben Shlomo, founder and CEO of Jgive.com.

“People committed to a cause or a charity do so out of concern and generosity. These values do not change because of politics. We know that American Jews care deeply about Israel and as we see, that commitment will not waver.”

Jgive.com is an Israeli nonprofit, digital crowdfunding platform created to inform, encourage and strengthen a “culture of giving,” dedicated to making donating and fund-raising for Israeli causes easy and meaningful.

More than 400 Israeli charities are presented on the website and all donations are tax-deductible. All funds go entirely to the charities directly.

The head of the Reform Movement in Israel, Rabbi Gilad Kariv, said he was not surprised by the findings of the study.

He said the impact of the Western Wall and conversion decisions would be felt mostly by organizations like AIPAC and Israel Bonds which could have difficulties reaching out to younger American Jews.

“It was clear to us that we would not see immediate financial impact,” Kariv said.

“It’s a process that should be investigated over a longer period of time. We don’t think the main impact will be with donations, and we don’t want people to stop giving money.

“The vast majority of American Jews support Israel not just through philanthropy. Donations mostly come from older generations, while the anger is in its peak among young American Jews.”

In July, major US Jewish philanthropist Isaac “Ike” Fisher said he suspended his financial support of Israel in light of the two explosive government decisions.

Jerusalem Post staff contributed to this report.


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