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6 Elul 5759 - August 18, 1999 | Mordecai Plaut, director Published Weekly








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Illegal Organizations Appear to Have Aided One Israel in Recent Election

by Yated Ne'eman Staff

A detailed investigative report appeared in this week's edition of Makor Rishon on the fictitious nonprofit associations that may have illegally helped One Israel and Ehud Barak win the recent election.

The B'Tzedek legal organization has filed a complaint with the police, which has transferred it to the State Prosecutor's Office, which in turn would like to pass it on to the State Comptroller.

"B'Tzedek and its sympathizers very much hope that the police carry out a full investigation," said Kalman Liebskind, who authored the report. "It may very well end in the filing of criminal charges, if necessary, whereas if the Comptroller gets involved, the story could end with a scathing report -- but one with no teeth at all."

Liebskind explained, "The election campaign laws limit individual campaign donations to 1700 shekels [currently a bit over $400]. Labor-One Israel's needs far exceeded that which could be raised from such small donations and so, non- profit organizations were either enlisted or created for the cause. In this way, much larger donations -- many of them from abroad -- could be funneled through these associations.

"There are two legal problems," Liebskind said. "One is that this is in direct contravention of the intention of the law, which was passed to limit the amount of money coming into political campaigns from individuals.

"Second, the law governing nonprofit associations was being violated. These associations were created and recognized for specific worthy social purposes, and instead were used to spend money to get Barak elected."

As an example, Liebskind mentioned a genuine organization established to fight unemployment, named Tenu La'avod Bechavod [Allow Us To Work with Honor]. Barak campaign workers "offered the association large sums, mostly from donors abroad, in the neighborhood of a million shekels, and the association basically became an arm of the Barak campaign.

"Whenever Barak would speak about unemployment, the association members came and demonstrated against [the Netanyahu government], and they would show up at [many] Netanyahu speeches and heckle him."

Barak's brother-in-law, Attorney Doron Cohen, attempted to set up five fictitious nonprofit associations in one day in May 1997, all with the same address and with the identical list of social goals -- such as the advancement of sport, distributing scholarships to students, etc.

The Associations Registrar noticed what was happening, and voided four of the associations.

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