The Manhattan skyline .
(photo credit: REUTERS)
This week, the Beit Rabban Day School, a Manhattan Jewish educational facility made the decision to hire Stephanie Ives, the NY/Tri-State Regional Director of the New Israel Fund as its head of school. What a terrible message to send our youth; those who lead an organization which supports a boycott of Israel will be in charge of a Jewish day school. Shameful. The New Israel Fund which supports anti-Israel programs and initiatives, funds legislation to protect the families of Palestinian terrorists and is an extremist organization well outside the bounds of political correctness.
Would a Neturei Karta supporter be named to head a Jewish day school? What would the response of the community be?
Jeremy Hockenstein, the chairman of the school’s search committee alluded to Ives’ past work when he said, “[We were] impressed by her track record of executing a vision. We admired her demonstrated leadership in building communities around shared goals..."
The NIF’s community building has been condemned across the political spectrum in Israel – Birthright Israel cut ties with the organization, yet Beit Rabban embraces a leader of the organization?
Groups like HaMoked, which is in business to defy Israel’s ability to thwart future terrorist attacks on its people are NIF. Breaking the Silence, which proudly issued a highly edited and controversial report of Israeli soldiers claiming they were ordered to kill Palestinian non-combatants during the 2014 Operation Protective Edge in Gaza. Adalah, which has an international campaign of lawfare, to educate and assist groups and people on tying up Israel’s legal resources in courts to waste its money and resources. B’Tselem, a group that stages riots and films IDF soldiers’ reactions to provide the International Criminal Court at The Hague evidence of alleged atrocities committed by Israel. B'Tselem recently endorsed the actions of an operative named Ezra Nawi, who was arrested for helping get Palestinian land owners killed for selling land to Jews, saying “This is the only legitimate channel for a Palestinian.”
Then there are NIF grantees such as Rabbis for Human Rights that was paying Nawi for work, Ir Amin, which works to divide Jerusalem, Yesh Din, which also works to delegitimize Israel at the United Nations and many others that do more than merely support progressive causes within Israel, but they outright believe the key to a better Israel is a weakened Jewish nation.
It is terrible if the ideology of the New Israel Fund, will be imprinted on the educational structure of the children at Beit Rabban.
Ives, in her farewell email to NIF members vowed to continue her work, “my heart and soul are wrapped up in the work of NIF. I believe we are living during one of the most critical times in Jewish history, and we are privileged to help shape the future of Israel… my time at NIF has deepened my confidence in the Israeli change agents we support… I plan to remain actively involved as a lay person thereafter.”
The board of Beit Rabban: Tali Rosenblatt-Cohen, Erika Adler Olshin, Rob Mank, Gustavo Bruckner, Barbara Schnipper, Shai Akabas, Oded Har-Even, Anne Kohn, Lisa Minsky-Primus, Rhonda Rose, Adit Samet, Steven I. Weiss and Benjamin White must insist Ives separate from NIF.
Those who endorse the philosophies of NIF and its grantees are extremists who are well outside the consensus of the Jewish communal tent. Boycotters must not be leaders of Jewish education.
George Birnbaum is an international political consultant, who formerly served as chief of staff for Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.
Hank Sheinkopf, CEO of Sheinkopf Communications, is a leading political strategist who has worked on campaigns in four continents. His clients have included former president Bill Clinton.
Ronn Torossian is a New York-based Public Relations executive and author of
For Immediate Release.