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
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."