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
"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
"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.