Israel’s far-right Kahanist movement is drawing new scrutiny and attention following Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu’s recent announcement that he welcomes bringing Otzma Yehudit, a reincarnation of Meir Kahane’s outlawed Kach party, into his governing coalition.

This racist movement, made up of numerous far-right, terrorism-promoting groups that share the same leaders and activists as Otzma Yehudit — receives funding from the United States, through several tax-exempt American Jewish charities. This is in direct violation of U.S. law, which forbids tax-exempt dollars from going to terrorist organizations.

Even before Otzma Yehudit’s rise to prominence, T’ruah was working to cut off this illegal flow of dollars.

On Aug. 29, 2018, we filed a series of complaints against three American Jewish charities, including the Central Fund of Israel, which has resumed its funding of Honenu. Learn more here.

And on Feb. 25, 2019, we filed a complaint against The Charity of Light Fund, which is based in Lakewood, N.J., and in 2016 sent almost $100,000 to Chasdei Meir/Chemla Fund.

T’ruah has been concerned about this issue for several years, and our August 2018 complaint was a follow-up to successful efforts in 2016, when we achieved a major victory. We complained to the IRS that Honenu—a group that was giving cash payments to Israelis convicted of terrorism and to their families—was receiving tax exempt donations through the Central Fund of Israel, a U.S. foundation. The IRS investigated, and Central Fund of Israel cut off funding to Honenu until the latter ended this practice. Honenu continues to provide legal support for Israelis accused or convicted of terrorism. We believe that this is a legitimate use of funds, as human rights standards dictate that everyone deserves fair legal representation, no matter his or her crime. However, the practice of no-strings-attached cash payments to terrorists crossed a U.S. legal line. The IRS agreed.

To learn more about these efforts, or to offer legal or other support, e-mail office@truah.org.

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