Peace Now loses registrar's approval

Examination finds aims of organization that provides funding for left-wing group don't tally with movement's activities.

peace now 298 ap (photo credit: AP [file])
peace now 298 ap
(photo credit: AP [file])
The Registrar of Nonprofit Organizations has decided to withdraw the certificate of proper administration from the organization that provides funding for Peace Now, a Justice Ministry official said Monday. According to the official, the registrar, Yaron Keidar, recently conducted an in-depth examination of the nonprofit organization, known as Sha'al Educational Enterprises. The official added that Keidar found several problems involving the organization. The most serious was the fact that the aims of the organization, as it defined them, did not tally with the activities of Peace Now, which is a political-ideological activist movement calling for a two-state solution along the 1967 Green Line boundaries. This is problematic, as it may lead to misrepresentation regarding what the money of Sha'al's donors would be used for. The official added that unless Sha'al Educational Enterprises corrects the faults that Keidar discovered in his investigation, the organization would be dismantled. Peace Now Director-General Yariv Oppenheimer told The Jerusalem Post in response to the report that "we have been operating for 30 years under these arrangements, and no one has ever found fault until now. Everything is transparent and nothing has changed. It seems that someone in the registrar's office, for political reasons, has decided to cause us harm. I hope the matter will be resolved quickly." It is possible that the investigation of Peace Now by the registrar was sparked by a petition filed in November by Aryeh King, a member of the Moledet Party and head of the self-styled Office for Public Complaints Regarding East Jerusalem. In his petition, King demanded that the High Court cancel petitions filed by Peace Now because the movement is not a legal entity. The petitions he referred to call for dismantling the illegal outposts of Migron, Hayovel and Haresha. King wrote in the petition that "Peace Now is a brand name used by the public and the media. It is not now, and never was, a legal entity. As a result, it should never have been allowed to have its day in court. It should furthermore be clarified that distinct from Peace Now, there is a registered nonprofit organization called 'Sha'al Educational Enterprises.'" King charged that in the petition, Peace Now identified itself as "Peace Now - Sha'al Educational Enterprises," an entity that does not exist. He said Peace Now used that name to cover up the fact that it did not have the right to petition the court. In its response to King's petition, Peace Now said it had added its own name to that of Sha'al so that everyone would know who was behind the petitions regarding the illegal outposts, as the name Peace Now is universally recognized. Peace Now's lawyer, Michael Sfard, also pointed out that the High Court had already rejected similar petitions filed by King in other cases involving Peace Now.