Dei'ah veDibur - Information & Insight

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1 Kislev 5764 - November 26, 2003 | Mordecai Plaut, director Published Weekly









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NGO Headed by Poraz Suspected of Illegally Transferring Funds to Meretz
by Eliezer Rauchberger

The registrar for non-governmental organizations (NGOs) is conducting a inquiry into the Liberal Institute for Research and Education, formerly headed by Interior Minister Avraham Poraz, which is suspected of illegally transferring funds to the Meretz Party.

MK Rabbi Meir Porush, to whom the relevant documents were handed over, divulged the letter sent from the registrar to the Liberal Institute demanding it describe "in fine detail the organization's ties to Meretz and how this connection and the associated activities are consistent with the organization's goals as approved by the NGO registrar."

The registrar also demanded the organization provide "a list of all activities done in collaboration with Meretz from 2000 through the present." The letter also states that in a telephone conversation, Liberal Institutes's representative told the registrar's representative that it operates under party sanction, a statement the registrar has asked be clarified as well.

The registrar is also investigating whether the NGO violated the law by paying wages to one of the members of the board of directors. Rabbi Porush revealed a letter in which the board of directors member admits that she receives money from the organization in exchange for work she performs for it.

Rabbi Porush also uncovered the minutes of a directors meeting the organization held on November 29th, 2002 which state the meeting was held in Shinui offices at 100 Chashmonaim St. in Tel Aviv. Among those present at the meeting were Avraham Poraz, who was an MK at the time and served as the organization's board chairman, as well as Ilan Shalgi, now a Shinui MK.

The meeting addressed forecasted activities for 2003 and a summary of activities in 2002. According to the minutes it was decided to hold 11 seminars at a cost of NIS 25,000 each, and to allocate two to Meretz. The minutes also state, "Considering that next year mayoral elections will be held in Haifa and Jerusalem, some of the seminars will be devoted to issues tied to the municipal elections."

During a Knesset plenum last week Rabbi Porush and Minister Poraz exchanged harsh words. While Poraz was responding to a question, Rabbi Porush asked whether it was true the registrar was investigating suspicions the NGO Poraz headed illegally transferred funds to political parties.

Minister Poraz claimed Rabbi Porush "does not miss a single opportunity to gore me." He admitted he was chairman of the organization for a certain period, but insisted "this non- governmental organization was never involved in political activity. It was involved in explaining liberal ideas." Poraz said he was not involved in the registrar's actions. "If they want--let them investigate, if not--not," he said.

MK Rabbi Porush claimed the Interior Minister was lying, but Poraz held his ground and suggested waiting until the inquiry was complete.

Rabbi Porush presented the MKs with the documents proving the organization was involved in activity with Meretz and that the NGO registrar was looking into the matter. He also pointed out the fact the organization's address is at Shinui offices saying, "So I ask how the Interior Minister is unashamed. Here, today, he lied to the Knesset. And I ask why he lies to the Knesset time after time, and he says I gore him, and in the end it is acknowledged I speak the truth."


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