Police arrested the head of Jerusalem-based humanitarian aid network Hazon
Yeshaya, a charity that provides thousands of hot meals each day to people in
need, and nine of the organization’s employees Sunday on suspicion of pocketing
millions of dollars from donors abroad for poor people, including Holocaust
According to suspicions, the suspects cheated donors out of the
funds after making them believe the money would be used for purchasing food for
the needy, when in fact the money was used to purchase food that was sold to
buyers in the haredi (ultra-Orthodox) community, police suspect.
deception of donors allegedly included the listing of made-up food distribution
Hazon Yeshaya played a role in transferring compensation money
from Germany to Holocaust survivors, and received money from the Conference on
Jewish Material Claims Against Germany, police added.
The arrests came
following an undercover investigation the police’s National Fraud Unit launched
several months ago.
It was prompted by complaints from donors, police
Officers raided the organization’s offices in Jerusalem, seizing
In addition to theft, police suspect the charity of money
laundering, aggravated fraudulent receipt of goods and forging corporate
The charity was set up in the late 1990s, under the banner of
food distribution for the poor and the provision of dental care.
charity is considered to be one of the largest in the country,” police said. “It
receives tens of millions of dollars from donors abroad.”
Lezion Magistrate’s Court extended the remand of the charity head by three days.
Two employees had their remand extended by five days as well.
Yeshaya, which has received up to $2 million over the past two years from
international donors, came under scrutiny in recent months from supporters
around the world.
Last October, Friends of Hazon Yeshaya groups in the UK
and Canada started to raise suspicions over the scope of the charity’s
activities in Israel and, subsequently, supporting branches in Hong Kong,
Australia, South Africa and France suspended their activities.
January, the Registrar of Nonprofit Organizations confirmed that it was
reviewing complaints it had received about the charity.Ruth Eglash
contributed to this report.