'Go somewhere else and leave us alone'

By SAM SER
December 2, 2005 12:41
2 minute read.

JNF-UK complains that KKL doesn't finish projects on time. "That's a flimsy excuse. Not every project can be finished on time. There are delays that are beyond our control. In one case, a contractor went bankrupt and fled. It took us a long time to get our money back. Is that our fault?" Why did you stop reporting to JNF-UK about its holdings in Israel? "We never found any record of any lands they owned in Israel, nor did we find any reason to pay them money for such land." So why did KKL send reports to JNF-UK every year about its holdings? "That could just have been inertia from the Mandate era." Why does KKL spend more than 40% of its budget on administrative costs? "About 20% goes to administration, and about another 20% goes to land rents. These are reasonable expenses. We have cut our manpower by two-thirds - and since then, the workers' union says false things about us in the press." Does Ronald Lauder's rebuke worry you? "I never received from him any objection about KKL. Not one." Why has there been such a steep decline in donations to KKL under your leadership? "I believe it is a side effect of the intifada." Why do you call Gail Seal's work with JNF-UK dishonest? "If you are part of Keren Kayemeth, then collect money for Keren Kayemeth. If you want to collect money for other needs, well, no one is obligating you to be part of Keren Kayemeth. Go somewhere else and leave us alone, join another organization. But to represent KKL in England, which stands for certain things, and to send the money you collect to other places as if it were your private business, is unheard of." If Seal were to resign, would that improve the situation with JNF-UK? "I believe it would. And I'm not a naive person."


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