Tel-Aviv U Offering Credits & Scholarships for Interning in NGO Working to Topple Government

A Tel-Aviv University-approved program is now offering students academic credits and scholarships in exchange for interning in an organization that is actively campaigning to topple the current government.

The Everett Social Justice Program run by Shatil, the operating arm of the New Israel Fund, aims to “train a new generation of young leaders that will work for a more just society.” The program is run at several Israeli universities and colleges and offers students up to four academic credits and a scholarship of 9,000 NIS in exchange for interning in an array of organization that promote “social justice.”

To qualify for the program, students must attend a weekly class and perform eight weekly hours of internship at an organization that has been approved by the program.

The newest addition to the program at Tel-Aviv University is Zazim, a NGO that is currently campaigning to topple the Netanyahu-led government. According to its website, “Zazim is a campaigning community for social and political change” and works “to impact the public agenda in Israel.”

The primary financer of Zazim is the US-based New Israel Fund, which in recent years has drawn sharp criticism from pro-Israel groups over their funding of Israeli NGOs that are vocally critical of the Israeli policy. In 2016, Zazim received over $180,000 from the New Israel Fund.

According to the Zionist group Im Tirtzu, the Everett Social Justice Program features other “anti-Zionist” NGOs that defend terrorists in court and accuse Israel of perpetrating crimes against humanity, including the HaMoked, the Association for Civil Rights in Israel, Bimkom, Physicians for Human Rights-Israel, Rabbis for Human Rights and the Public Committee Against Torture in Israel.

“It is very troubling to see how state-funded universities offer academic programs that enable students to receive credits and scholarships for interning in NGOs that work to delegitimize Israel and defame IDF soldiers,” said Im Tirtzu CEO Matan Peleg.

“The Council for Higher Education’s approach of turning a blind eye sends a very problematic message to students. There must be an end to all official academic collaboration with organizations that are financed by foreign political entities to work against Israel, and who act as foreign agents in all respects.”

“This is another glaring example of why the Education Minister needs to advance the proposed academic code of ethics,” added Peleg. 

New Israel Fund Loses Millions: Donations Plummet $6 Million in 2016

Im Tirtzu CEO Matan Peleg: “Sole purpose of the NIF is to harm the State of Israel and its sovereignty”

Donations to the New Israel Fund (NIF) have dropped nearly 20% in the past year from $33,062,783 in 2015 to $27,064,945 in 2016, according to the annual financial statement recently released by the organization. This marks a six-year low in donations received by the US-based organization.

The NIF has also cut its overall funding to Israeli groups by some 35% over the past several years, providing $20,176,422 worth of donations in 2008 but only $13,541,427 in 2016.

According to its website, the NIF aims to advance liberal democracy and to fight injustice in Israel and has donated over $300 million to over 900 organizations since its establishment in 1979.

In recent years, the NIF has faced sharp criticism from pro-Israel groups over its funding of NGOs that are vocally critical of Israeli policy.

In December 2015, Zionist NGO Im Tirtzu conducted a high-profile campaign exposing what it dubbed “foreign agent” organizations funded by the New Israel Fund and foreign governments. In 2010, the NIF was accused of funding the majority of NGOs that gave testimony to the United Nations-commissioned Goldstone Report, which accused Israel of committing war crimes during 2009’s Operation Cast Lead in Gaza.

Prominent recipients of NIF funding include Breaking the Silence and B’Tselem, which promote international pressure on Israel and have accused the IDF of perpetrating war crimes. According to its financial statement, the NIF donated $438,766 to Breaking the Silence in 2016, a 300% increase from 2015. B’Tselem has also received increased funding from the NIF, receiving $360,659 in 2016, a 40% increase from 2015.

Matan Peleg, CEO of Im Tirtzu that has been one of the NIF’s most prominent critics, welcomed the findings. “The New Israel Fund has lost its legitimacy among the vast majority of Israeli citizens long ago,” said Peleg, “and it is good to see that its US donors are beginning to comprehend that the sole purpose of this organization is to harm the State of Israel and its sovereignty.”

“We are glad to see that our ‘foreign agent’ campaign succeeded in shedding light on the destructive activities of the New Israel Fund and the NGOs it supports,” added Peleg.