Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu attends the weekly cabinet meeting at the Prime Minister's office in Jerusalem.
(photo credit: AMIR COHEN/REUTERS)
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s attack on the New Israel Fund appeared Friday to have boomeranged, as the left-wing umbrella organization reported a massive rise in donations.
Since Netanyahu’s attack on the NIF Tuesday evening, some 2,000 Israelis contributed NIS 300,000 to the fund, the NGO reported Friday.
An NIF spokesman called the rise in donations unprecedented, noting that 95% of the contributors had donated for the first time, and credited Netanyahu, whom he called “a world champion fund-raiser.”
Saturday night, the spokesman said the amount had risen to NIS 500,000.
NIF director-general Mickey Gitzin said the money would be used to help the campaign against the expulsion of migrant workers, to strengthen south Tel Aviv and to build up Israeli civil society.
“I am touched by the strong support of the Israeli public and I thank everyone for their faith in the NIF,” Gitzin said. “The new donors have joined to help Israeli democracy as a protest against the wave of incitement led by Netanyahu.”
Five right-wing MKs who have been vocal against the NIF and a spokesman for Netanyahu all declined to comment.
Zionist Union MK Nachman Shai said that “the fund is not an enemy of Israel and its contributors want what is best for the state.”
Netanyahu accused the NIF of triggering European pressure on Rwanda to withdraw from an agreement on taking in migrants to Israel.
Writing on his Facebook page, Netanyahu instructed coalition chairman David Amsalem to establish a parliamentary committee of inquiry to look into the organization’s activities that, he charged, endanger “the security and future of Israel as the national home of the Jewish people.”
Netanyahu accused the NIF of being a “foreign” organization that receives funds from foreign governments and organizations hostile to Israel, such as those funded by George Soros.
The principal aim of the NIF, he wrote, is to “erase the Jewish nature of Israel and turn it into a state of all its citizens – alongside a Palestine state free of Jews along the 1967 lines with Jerusalem as its capital.”Herb Keinon contributed to this report.