An Israeli organization known as Shlom Asiraich has been collecting tax-exempt donations from the US and using it to help financially support some of the country's most notorious Jewish extremists and convicts, a new report by Israeli investigative reporting team Shomrim and The Associated Press revealed.
According to Shomrim, this organization is responsible for providing funds for notable criminals on the far Right in Israel.
As indicated by a report by Israel's Channel 13, these criminals include, but are not limited to:
- Yigal Amir, the far-right extremist who assassinated prime minister Yitzhak Rabin in 1995
- Yishai Schlissel, the ultra-Orthodox Israeli who stabbed 16-year-old Shira Banki to death at the Jerusalem Gay Pride Parade in 2015
- The Duma arsonist suspect Amiram Ben-Uliel, who allegedly set fire to a Palestinian home in 2015, killing members of the Dawabsheh family
What is Shalom Asiraich?
The organization, whose name roughly translates to "The Well-Being of Your Prisoners," is relatively new, having been founded in 2020 as a registered nonprofit by members of Israel's settlement movement.
However, according to Shomrim, the actual collection of funds goes back to at least 2018, then under the name "Kulanu im asirei Zion" or "We are all with the prisoners of Zion."
Shomrim further stated that the nonprofit was registered by attorney Hanamel Dorfman, a lawyer linked to Israeli right-wing firebrand National Security Minister Itamar Ben-Gvir, who may be set to become Ben-Gvir's chief of staff and who even helped negotiate his party's deal with the Likud to join the coalition.
In the past, Dorfman called Israel Police "antisemitic" and a "mafia" and is a noted settler activist.
However, Dorfman claims to not be the Shlom Aislich's legal adviser and refused to answer further inquiries by Shomrim.
At least five of the people who are known to be among the group's founders have their own history with police investigations on either politically or extremist ideologically motivated crimes.
For example, one of the founders is Moshe Orbach, a resident of the Yitzhar settlement, who has faced several criminal convictions and police investigations in the past for incitement and other crimes, Shomrim noted.
The organization's goal is to seemingly raise money to help support Jews who were convicted of extremist acts and hate crimes and are now in prison. Exactly how much money was raised to do this isn't clear, since the nonprofit was only registered in 2020, though Channel 13 said it was at least NIS 150,000.
On its website, Shlom Asiraich says it helps provide essentials every month by assisting families where the breadwinner is no longer at home (due to being in prison), organizing trips to the graves of righteous Jews to pray for them and trips to their trials in court to provide emotional support.
One example of this support was seen in October 2022 when Shlom Asiraich's Twitter account shared a picture of wine and snacks it sent to the families of the convicted Jewish extremist prisoners, along with a letter of encouragement.
Evidently, some of the families seem to greatly appreciate the help, with the family of Duma arsonist Ben-Ulliel's family sending a letter of thanks to the organization.
In addition, it also maintains an active social media presence, posting regularly about Jews who were arrested by Israeli law enforcement and posts relating to Ben-Gvir, among others.
A look at the organization's website currently says that they are preparing for Passover and compares slavery in Egypt to Jews being imprisoned.
How are they raising money?
Israeli nonprofits, even right-wing groups, often look to the US to raise funds. In fact, an estimate cited by the AP said that Jewish-American donors were responsible for $2 billion donated to Israeli nonprofits every year from 2018 to 2020. However, Shlom Asiraich still stands out as a bit unique.
This is because, according to former Shin Bet (Israel Security Agency) official Dvir Kariv, Shlom Aisiraich is an extremist group, and extremist Jews usually don't look to the US for funds, the AP reported. However, he added that they aren't the first Jewish extremist group in Israel to do so, notably citing Meir Kahane's Kach Party, which was long considered a terrorist group in the US.
But helping Shlom Asiraich raise funds in the US is World of Tzedaka, a New Jersey-based nonprofit aimed at helping any person or organization raise money, though it does charge $28 a month and a processing fee of 3% for transferring money to Israeli banks, AP reported.
In addition, anyone transferring funds to Shlom Asiraich through World of Tzedaka will find that these donations are all tax-deductible, Shomrim reported.
This is a developing story.