In an attempt to clear his name and save his soup kitchen charity, Rabbi Abraham
Israel, director and founder of Hazon Yeshaya Humanitarian Network, released the
results of an internal audit Wednesday.
While the audit lacks certain
fine details, such as the names and addresses of the schools and other programs
his humanitarian network services in Israel, the work was carried out by a
registered CPA and claims to account for all the monies raised here and abroad
by the charity.
In a statement released together with the audit, which
examined Hazon Yeshaya’s operations in 2010, Israel said he believed the report
would discount any claims or suspicions raised in recent months about the
charity. Last October, former supporters in the UK and in Canada alleged they
had been misled about the exact size and scope of Hazon Yeshaya’s operations,
and subsequently closed down the charity’s branches in several international
“The damage caused by these scurrilous rumors has been
immense,” said Israel.
“We have suffered a huge fall in donations and our
good name has been blackened for no reason. Those who called themselves our
friends have hurt us deeply and reduced our ability to help those who are in
desperate need of our assistance.”
In an exclusive interview with The
Israel admitted that a sharp drop in donations had led him to
revise previously published figures. He estimated that in 2011 Hazon Yeshaya had
raised $8,500,000 from international donors, compared to $11,285,932 the
“We used to produce 14,000, but now donations are down so
it is less,” admitted Israel, adding, “In the past we served 14,000, then we
went down to 9,000 and today we serve about 5,000 hot meals a day.”
audit released this week shows that Hazon Yeshaya funded a wide range of
vocational training courses; special classes to become religious court
employees; free dental treatments; medical kits for soldiers; and food,
transport and other services for kindergartens and schools for children in
In addition, it shows that loans were given to impoverished
families and food baskets, and other ready-prepared meals were distributed to
The audit, however, does not show exactly which schools or
institutions received meals from Hazon Yeshaya, where they are based, or how
much money the charity raised abroad.
Also, the auditors did not appear
to visit any of operations outside Jerusalem.
Israel explained that
“there is a lot of competition out there with other charities and a lot of
jealousy” which is why he does not share such information publicly.
this level of secrecy, however, that caused suspicions to mount among Hazon
Yeshaya’s former supporters around the world.
On Wednesday, those who
used to represent the charity in Canada discounted the information in the audit,
saying they still had many unanswered questions about what does not appear in
Even though former supporters in the UK, Canada, Hong Kong,
Australia, South Africa and France have declared they are freezing all
fund-raising activities until further information determines the charity’s true
work, no one was willing to comment directly on the audit.
In response to
a previous request for information from the Post, a representative of the
charity’s former supporters said: “We have found very serious irregularities
with Hazon Yeshaya, which have been further confirmed by other
“We have asked questions since early September that have never
been answered,” the representative added, highlighting that the Canadian Friends
of Hazon Yeshaya “stopped funding him since August, followed by Hong Kong
[October], Australia and South Africa [November] and UK and France
Also large funders have also stopped their
The representative also pointed out that the US branch of the
charity is still operational.
“Unfortunately the US charity has no
independent trustees,” said the representative.
“It is controlled by
Abraham Israel and his family.”
Suspicions about Hazon Yeshaya were first
raised this past summer when the charity’s Canadian Friends requested Israel
provide them with some more details about food distribution and other services.
When Israel’s response was insufficient, they sent a charity investigator to
Israel and based on his findings decided to suspend all work with charity and
raise the alarm among other groups worldwide.
A few months later, with
the support of the other international funders, the group hired a team of
private investigators, including ex-Mossad agents. This team filed a 100-page
report with vast accusations, including the fact that Hazon Yeshaya was selling
food to some of the organizations looking for charity.
While they claim
to now have concrete evidence that Abraham Israel grossly mislead them, the
former supporters in Canada and the UK said they could not divulge any exact
information from the report at this time.
In his interview with the Post,
Israel maintained that the allegations against him are too vague and that they
stemmed from an attempt by his former supporters to “steal” his properties and
ruin his reputation.
“All we are trying to do is feed the poor and it is
devastating not to be able to do this,” he said.