Illegal Funding of Israeli Army in Canada Comes Under Spotlight

Published January 6th, 2019 - 02:10 GMT
Violence in the occupied West Bank, Jerusalem and Israel since October 2015 has killed 245 Palestinians, 36 Israelis, and five other nationals. (AFP)
Violence in the occupied West Bank, Jerusalem and Israel since October 2015 has killed 245 Palestinians, 36 Israelis, and five other nationals. (AFP)

A political issue was raised in Canada on Friday regarding donating legal and illegal funds to the Israeli army and financing a number of its projects, including the establishment of a military base in the Negev.

The Jewish National Fund of Canada – an affiliate of parent organization Keren Kayemeth LeIsrael or the Jewish National Fund (KKL-JNF) – used its donations to fund infrastructure projects on Israeli army, air and naval bases, in contravention of Canadian law.

Notably, the Canadian law does not prevent Canadian citizens from donating to the Israeli army through the Israeli Ministry of Security, but it prevents tax-exempt charitable organizations from assisting foreign armies and prevents them from obtaining a tax exemption for these donations.

According to Canadian experts, as part of the donations, funds were diverted to develop a military base in the agricultural settlement of Sde Bocker and to fund the rehabilitation of young people for military service.

On the other hand, the Canadian branch of the "Keren Kayemeth" said it had financed the army's projects in the past and stopped in 2016 after it turned out to be against the law.

The adviser to resolve disputes, Megan McKenzie, said she was surprised to discover "Keren Kayemeth’s involvement in funding the Israeli army."

She said she had gone into details about the afforestation projects outside the Green Line and in the areas of the occupied West Bank, noting that her shock was increasing as more details were discovered.

Canada Park was JNF Canada's first large project in Israel and the West Bank, built on the site of three Palestinian villages left empty after 1967's Six Day War.

Retired Physician Ismail Zayid of Halifax was born in one of those villages, Beit Nuba. He has been complaining to CRA about JNF's charitable status for 40 years.

"I wrote to (the CRA) repeatedly," he said. "They would say they are conducting an investigation of (the) complaint, and then I would write again and say, 'What are the findings of your investigation?' And they would say, 'The findings are confidential.'”

The documents showed Canadian tax authorities projects to raise funds to fund the establishment of a building for visits of soldiers at Israeli army’s military base as well as a plan to develop a street near the border with Egypt to facilitate the movement of Israeli security forces in the region.

This article has been adapted from its original source.

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