LIBI Fund board resigns in protest of Barak appointee

Board protests Barak’s decision to appoint a political crony to head the nonprofit organization, which collects money for soldiers.

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December 28, 2010 03:16
1 minute read.
LIBI fund

LIBI fund logo 58. (photo credit: Courtesy)

 
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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 Ministry.

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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 Fund.”

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 Poland.

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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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