UNICEF cuts ties with Lev Leviev

Decision comes after Arab rights group claimed the Israeli billionaire supported construction in W. Bank.

Lev Leviev 88 224 (photo credit: Ariel Jerozolimski)
Lev Leviev 88 224
(photo credit: Ariel Jerozolimski)
A UN agency has severed ties with Israeli billionaire Lev Leviev over allegations that he helped fund construction in the West Bank, Reuters reported on Friday. According to the report, Leviev, who is the chairman of Africa Israel Investments, is in charge of at least one company in his conglomerate which the Arab rights advocacy group Adalah-NY claims built Jewish settlements on West Bank land. Adalah-NY launched a campaign against Leviev whereby they appealed to the UN children's fund UNICEF to cut its connection with the Israeli businessman, the report said. UNICEF has received direct and indirect funding from Leviev over the years. Following its review of the charges set by Adalah-NY, the UN group decided to end its relationship with Leviev after concluding that there was "at least a reasonable grounds for suspecting" his company had supported West Bank construction, Reuters reported. "I can confirm that UNICEF has advised Adalah in New York that it will not be entering into any partnerships or accepting financial contributions from Lev Leviev or his corporate people," Chris de Bono, a senior adviser to the executive director of UNICEF, told Reuters. "We are aware of the controversy surrounding Mr. Leviev because of his reported involvement in construction work in the occupied Palestinian territory," de Bono said, adding that it was UNICEF's policy to have partners who were "as non-controversial as possible."