The European Union has been funding an Israeli organization aimed at Russian-speaking Israelis that tries to “sell” them on the need for a Palestinian state, Yisrael Hayom reported Wednesday. The organization, called “Morashteinu,” received a grant of 498,461 euros, with payments spread out between 2018 and 2021, the report said. In addition to the EU grant, the organization received NIS 49,483 from the U.S. Embassy in 2018, the report said.
Established in 1998, Morashteinu’s stated goals are to “advance the conditions that will bring about a peace arrangement that both Israelis and Palestinians can agree to, and to bring about a change in the attitude of Russian speakers.” That can be accomplished, the group says, by “building trust in the two-state solution among a group that has generally rejected it,” as well as “destroying the negative narrative about Palestinians” among Russian speakers.
Information on the EU donation was uncovered in an analysis of data submitted to the government by non-profit organizations regarding donations. Documents show that Morashteinu’s mailing address is the same as the offices of the Geneva Initiative, a far-left group that has proposed a map for the establishment of a Palestinian state in all of Yehudah, Shomron, and areas of Yerushalayim liberated after the 1967 Six Day War. Listed as a member of the organization’s board of directors is Meretz MK and former Peace Now head Mussi Raz, among other prominent leftists.
The EU said in a statement that under Israeli law there was no problem funding the organization, which reflected the EU’s position on Middle East policy. Morashteinu told Yisrael Hayom that “advancing a solution to the conflict is a priority for Israel. Especially at a time like this, when both Binyamin Netanyahu and Benny Gantz march off to Washington to adopt a plan proffered by the president, one cannot claim that there is something wrong with ‘foreign entities’ getting involved in internal Israeli affairs. It goes without saying that we do not act on behalf of any party,” so there is no issue of illegal political donations, Morashteinu said.