On its website, The Jewish National Fund (JNF-KKL) presents itself as an environmental friendly non-governmental organization, with deep roots in Zionist history. The JNF often leads supporters and donors to believe that it does not fund projects in the occupied territories, which are highly controversial even among Zionists.
In the past, the JNF used sub-contractors for projects across the Green Line, including ones that demanded the evacuation of Palestinian families from their homes in East Jerusalem.
However, a 2012 document obtained by investigative journalist Raviv Druker reveals a list of projects in the settlements funded by the Jewish National Fund. In some cases, the JNF even insists on public credit for the projects.
Here is a link to the Hebrew document on Raviv Druker’s blog (PDF). These are the projects themselves (I added some of the locations of the settlements in brackets):
1. Amphitheatre in Shilo – 2 million NIS
2. Infrastructure projects in Ariel – 4.5 million NIS
3. Central Park in Avnei Hefetz [near Tulkarem] – 2.5 million NIS
4. Promenade in Gush Ezion [south of Jerusalem]: 250,000 NIS. Will be called “JNF Promenade”.
5. Promenade in Kfar Adumin [East of Jerusalem]: almost 1.5 million NIS.
6. Bike Lane in the Mateh Binyamin Regional Council: 1.7 million NIS.
7. Agriculture farm in Eitam: 2.5 million NIS
8. A park and observation point in Mitzpe Yericho [near Jericho]: 600,000 NIS
9. Historical site in Rosh Tzurim [near Bethlehem]: 400,000 NIS
10. Habanim Park in Hebron: 700,000 NIS
11. Infrastructure work in Alon Moreh’s Yeshiva [near Nablus]: 300,000 NIS
12. Public ground in Shavei Shomron: 350,000 NIS
13. Public ground in Har Bracha [near Nablus]: Almost 1 million NIS
14. Kikar Park in Beit El (near Ramallah]: 120,000 NIS.
This is, according to Druker, from 2012. Recently, he says, “the rate of investments has grown.”
The context for the publication is Tzipi Linvi’s attempt to extend the State’s Comptroller’s oversight to the JNF – claiming that the fund is an arm of the government (it is), so it must be audited like any other. Housing Minister Uri Ariel of the settlers’ Jewish Home party opposes the move, claiming that JNF is involved in important activities that should be kept out of the public’s eye. Now we know what he means.