Reform Bluff? Study Shows No Drop in Donations to Israel

YERUSHALAYIM -

Reform leaders have threatened that their constituents would withdraw support from Israel in retaliation for the Netanyahu government’s failure to implement the Kosel prayer plan and recognize Reform conversion, but a study conducted by a fundraising site said that levels of support have continued unchanged.

Jgive.com, an online donations platform that hosts over 400 Israeli recipients of charitable giving, reported that organizations who were queried in the survey said there has been no change in the two months since the angry comments of Reform leaders filled the media, according to The Jerusalem Post on Tuesday.

Several respondents said the situation in Israel would not affect their contributions.

“Our commitment to Israeli causes is not conditional,” and “We are not pleased with the decisions of the Israeli government, but it does not mean we will punish those in need of our donations,” were said to be typical comments.

“We are pleased to see that the political debate between Israel and American Jewry has had no effect on donations, but we are not surprised by this,” said Ori Ben Shlomo, founder and CEO of Jgive.com.

“People committed to a cause or a charity do so out of concern and generosity. These values do not change because of politics. We know that American Jews care deeply about Israel and as we see, that commitment will not waver.”

The head of the Reform Movement in Israel, Gilad Kariv, played down the report, saying it was premature to look for an impact on contributions.

“It was clear to us that we would not see immediate financial impact,” Kariv said.

“It’s a process that should be investigated over a longer period of time. We don’t think the main impact will be with donations, and we don’t want people to stop giving money.

However, in July, the noted philanthropist Isaac “Ike” Fisher made headlines when he said he was stopping his financial support of Israel due to the treatment of the Reform movement. It was hailed at the time as a harbinger of things to come. Other major donors were said to be lining up to make similar declarations; but they have yet to materialize.

United Torah Judaism MK Rabbi Yisrael Eichler told Hamodia at the time, that there was nothing to fear from Reform threats of withholding support, since most of the money is allocated to their representatives in Israel to advance their agenda, not to benefit the country.

“Ninety-nine percent of Jews of the Diaspora have no problem with the Kosel arrangement that has been in place for the past fifty years. Just like the left-wing organizations, who do not represent the Diaspora Jewry, the same goes for the organizations that incite against the chareidim, they too, do not represent Diaspora Jewry. Desecrators of the Kosel do not represent the Jewish Diaspora, nor the citizens of the country, he said.