[One of the most politically charged issues in Israel over the past few years has been the investigations of non-profit organizations. Two of Israel’s most powerful politicians, former Prime Minister Ehud Barak and former Interior Minister Aryeh Deri (just released from a two year jail sentence), had their political careers ruined because of police investigations into the mismanagement of the non-profit foundations which supported their work.
Yet in the case of the non-profit foundation which supports the work of Yossi Beilin, who is in the process of forming a new political party while criss-crossing the globe and promoting what he thinks Israel’s foreign policy should be, the Israeli law enforcement establishment must still decide if it will act against Beilin’s Non-profit organization. – DB]
The Economic Cooperation Foundation, pioneered by former Israel Justice Minister Yossi Beillin, finally submitted its financial report for the year 2000 to the Registrar of Non-Profit Organizations, yet neglected to report the income that it received from the European Union and foreign governments, the names of its high salaried employees, as well as the names of the Palestinians benefiting from ECF grants.
Exactly one day following the Makor Rishon newspaper’s latest investigative report (“Is Beillin Above the Law, July 26th, 2002) about the European Cooperation Foundation (ECF), which was founded and directed by Dr. Yossi Beillin, the foundation finally submitted its financial report for the year 2000 to the Registrar of Non-Profit Organization. The report was six months overdue. It is yet unclear how the foundation managed to get the report stamped on July 27th – which came out on the Sabbath Day – a day when the office would normally be closed.
The investigative reports published by Makor Rishon revealed that Beillin’s ECF, (which was founded in the beginning of the 1990’s, and which played a leading role in the secret meetings held between Israelis and Palestinians preceding the Oslo Accords) ignored the Registrar’s requirements to report the details of the foundation’s financial activities. Beillin’s foundation receives considerable funds from the EU and other international organizations, and divides them among the various left-wing organizations in Israel as well as Palestinian organizations. In fact, Beillin uses the funds received by his foundation for, amongst other things, running his own foreign policy campaign – one which is in direct opposition to the Government of Israel’s official Foreign Policy.
According to law, the reports submitted by every NPO must clearly differentiate between the NPO’s income accrued from sources coming from within Israel and income from sources abroad. But since 1992, Beillin’s foundation does not submit any details concerning income from sources abroad. The European Union financial records from the year 1999 showed Makor Rishon that in the year 2000 that s foundation received from them 400,000 Euro. The Norwegian Government’s financial reports showed that it donated 1. 7 million Norwegian Krone to Beillin’s foundation. Yet the ECF failed to report either source of income. Could it be that the ECF is engaged in double-bookeeping, and registering its income from foreign governments in another account or in another country?
The support accrued from the EU to Beillin’s foundation were in accordance to Clause 6 of the ECF by-laws, adopted at the time of the foundation’s genesis in 1991: “To encourage the European community to INTERVENE in the peace process between Israel and the Arab countries”. That would mean that Beillin, who served as Israel’s Deputy Foreign Minister between the years 1992-1995, acted in a clear conflict of interest to Israel foreign policy, which has always opposed the “intervention” of outside powers into the middle east conflict – especially the EU.
Meanwhile, in the Year 2000 ECF financial report, the foundation failed to disclose the names of the five highest paid salaries in the ECF, as all NPO’s are required to do by law. The report only reveals that the highest paid salaries amount to NIS 2,900,000 of which in addition to the travelling expenses of NIS580,000 consist of 63% of the foundation’s expenses. The salaries of the five senior members of the foundation (whose names are undisclosed) amounted to NIS1,750,000: In other words, the average per annum salary of the foundation in the year 2000 a.m.ounted to NIS350,000. For some reason, the ECF will not disclose the identities of its high priced employees, as required by law. The minutes of the ECF showed that the foundation reported the names of its employees to its board of directors, yet not to the registrar or to the public.
Another piece of data that the registrar demanded from the ECF was also ignored by the foundation even though it was requested for specifically by the registrar, is the list of people who received grants from the ECF during the year 2000.
Instead, the foundation preferred to report the total amount of grants that it dispersed. rather than the names of the recipients. In the year 2000, the ECF provided grants in the amount of NIS 800,000 – a drastic increase of 250% as opposed to 1999, when the foundation’s grants amounted to NIS 225,000.. For some reason, the ECF will not disclose the identities of its grantees as required by law. The minutes of the ECF showed that the foundation reported the names of its employees to its board of directors, yet not to the registrar or to the public.
According to the ECF treasurer’s notification to its internal comptroller, these grants were awarded to “Palestinian professionals”. The fact that the foundation chose not to submit their names to the NPO’s registrar raises suspicion that Beillin’s ECF foundation finances members of the Palestinian National Council, or members of the Palestinian security services. The question remains: why is Beilin hiding this data and what will the law enforcement establishment of the state of Israel do about it?.
Published in Makor Rishon on September 13, 2002