Schalit Demo 311.
(photo credit: Gali Sheffer Manor)
Police have opened a fraud investigation after it emerged Thursday morning that
a man who worked for the Campaign to Free Gilad Schalit was funneling donations
for the campaign to a private, unaffiliated organization.
Radio reported that Yoel Marshak, a kibbutz leader and an activist in the
Schalit campaign, had appointed Ronen Bar-Shira, who was previously convicted of
fraud, to be in charge of fund-raising for the campaign.
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According to the
report, after a flotilla arranged by Marshak to express solidarity with Schalit
was canceled, suppliers who had been recruited by the Schalit family to help
with the project did not receive the full amount of their money
Gilad’s brother Yoel Schalit said on Thursday that the family was
saddened to see Gilad’s name exploited for personal gain.
In an interview
with Army Radio, Yoel Schalit said: “The fund-raising for efforts to save Gilad
was done only though official organizations listed under our supervision, and
under the supervision of an accountant.
“Donations for a project in the
campaign were reportedly not returned to the donors after the project was
canceled. “Unfortunately, it appears that there was a one-time attempt by an
individual to raise funds not through our organization.
When we heard
about this, the family informed the organizers of the project to stop working
with this man, and during a meeting held with a lawyer Mr. Bar-Shira was asked
to immediately stop using the family’s name to raise
“Unfortunately for the family, there are those who exploited the
situation using improper means, as we saw from this incident,” he
Bar-Shira told Army Radio, “My past has nothing to do with this. I
returned all the donations to the suppliers. I am ready to come tomorrow with
the receipt book and the people who worked on it, and show each document. If I’m
wrong about something, I’ll jump from the Shalom Tower or from the highest
building in the country.”
Marshak said, “As soon as I discovered that we
were dealing with a con man, I stopped any contact with him, and I tried to get
the debt paid.”
Meanwhile, Schalit’s father, Noam, is scheduled to
testify over the phone on Friday before a UN Human Rights Council panel charged
with monitoring compliance by both Israel and Palestinians with the Goldstone
Report on the IDF’s Operation Cast Lead offensive in the Gaza Strip.
report’s recommendations included a call for the release of Gilad Schalit, who
has been held in Gaza since June 2006. The panel is expected to present a report
to the Human Rights Council in March.