Leaders of the Keren Hayesod in Switzerland sent a critical letter to the heads of the parent organization in Jerusalem on Sunday, expressing their concern about the current political situation in Israel, as well as the public discourse, according to Walla.
Keren Hayesod is one of the Jewish Agency’s main fundraising arms that sources from around the world, except for the US. Keren Hayesod Switzerland demanded that the organization’s leadership speak out against the moves that the Benjamin Netanyahu-led government is promoting, hinting that they are “threatening the continuation of fundraising and donations to Israel,” according to Walla.
'We cannot stand aside silently any longer'
“We mourn the lost Jewish and also the Palestinian lives and casualties. But after the death penalty [for terrorists] bill was passed on a preliminary first vote by the [Knesset], we cannot stand aside silently any longer. This was a redline for us. This is not the Israel we want to support,” the letter reads.
“We support Israel because we believe that even if we do not live there, it is also our country. This is why we stand with Israel whenever needed – unconditionally,” they wrote.
Keren Hayesod of Switzerland added that the mantra of “‘We collect [funds] for the people of Israel; for the poor; for the elderly and for children,’ does not work for us anymore... Our mutual responsibility is not only about giving money – while we watch how this amazing vision called Israel, is being threatened and emptied out of values we believed, we shared.”
Their support for Israel is “unconditional,” they said, as long as “the basic principles of humanity are respected and as long as Israel continues to be committed to the principles of a liberal and democratic system.”
They concluded by emphasizing the Keren Hayesod leadership that they “believe that at this moment, your voice should also be heard,” saying that it should be “loud and clear: We need to know, hear and see, that the organization for which we dedicate our time and our resources, an organization that was instrumental in the building of Israel, is loyal to its charter and does not turn a blind eye to a real and immediate threat to the basic fabric of Israel society.”
Keren Hayesod responded to the letter and sent a statement to The Jerusalem Post: “As a national institution, Keren Hayesod has played a vital role in the success of Zionism and Israel for over 103 years and has always strived to remain above politics. The causes we support are not controversial but humanitarian in nature and help strengthen Israel and its people,” it stated.
“Together with our entire global leadership, we are deeply concerned about the adverse effects that the current situation in Israel is having on the unity and solidarity in Israeli society and among the Jewish people around the globe,” the Keren Hayesod statement said. “We support efforts attempting to unite the parties and promote a respectful dialogue leading to an agreement that will safeguard the values of Israel and the unity of the Jewish people.”