ZOA Criticizes J.N.F. For Donating 3,000 Trees To Palestinian Authority
November 30, 2009

The Zionist Organization of America (ZOA) has criticized the Jewish National Fund (JNF) following reports that the organization, established by Jews and for Jews to rebuild Jewish national life in the biblical home of the Jewish people, has donated 3,000 trees to the Fatah-controlled Palestinian Authority (PA) of Mahmoud Abbas for a new city near Ramallah.


Benny Kashriel, the mayor of Maaleh Adumim who also is a member of the JNF board, said today that he will raise the JNF decision with the JNF board. The JNF, a time-honored symbol of Zionism, has for decades received literally billions of dollars from Jews in the Diaspora for planting trees and building the modern Jewish State. Kashriel said the contribution to the PA is a grave step that was taken without any request for approval and without advance notice and reflects a “system that has gone haywire … The country has gone crazy when it plants trees for the PA in Judea and Samaria at the same time that it forbids Jews to build. The system does not know who it is representing – us, the Palestinian Authority or the Americans?” (Tzvi Ben Gedalyahu, ‘JNF Donates 3,000 Trees to Palestinian Authority,’ Israel National News, November 30, 2009).


ZOA National President Morton A. Klein said, “We are deeply critical and indeed shocked by the decision of the JNF to donate thousands of trees, grown with money donated by Jews from around the world, to the PA. The PA is a terror-promoting entity controlled by Abbas’ Fatah, which demonstrated only in August at its Bethlehem conference that it does not accept Israel as a Jewish state, does not support a peace agreement that closes the conflict and engages in, indoctrinates for and glorifies terrorism against Jews. At this conference, Fatah honored terrorists, including Khaled Abu-Isbah and Dalal Mughrabi, responsible for the 1978 coastal road bus hijacking, in which 37 Israelis, including 12 children, were slaughtered.


“Has it really come to this, that a venerable Zionist organization with only one purpose – the up-building of a sovereign Jewish national existence, takes money from Jews and then uses these funds to make a gift of trees to Israel’s unreconstructed enemies?


“If JNF is to retain the confidence of American and world Jewry as to its dedicated purpose of building up the Jewish state of Israel, it is vital that the JNF publicly acknowledge its error and apologize for this clear misuse of funds it has raised. For the JNF to do otherwise would be to raise money from world Jewry under false pretences. It is vital that JNF never repeat this decision.”


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