KKL-JNF ap­proves com­pro­mise deal over fund­ing

The Jerusalem Post - - NEWS - • By GIL HOFF­MAN

Keren Kayemeth Le’Is­rael-Jewish Na­tional Fund will pay the state NIS 1.8 bil­lion for in­fra­struc­ture projects over the next three years, in­clud­ing a bil­lion the first year, ac­cord­ing to a com­pro­mise agree­ment reached late Mon­day by KKLJNF Di­rec­tor Gen­eral Am­non Ben Ami and Prime Min­is­ter Ben­jamin Ne­tanyahu’s chief of staff Yoav Horowitz.

De­spite de­mands from the Fi­nance Min­istry, the deal will al­low KKL-JNF to keep its tax ex­empt sta­tus and will not sub­ju­gate the or­ga­ni­za­tion to the Manda­tory Ten­ders Law.

The KKL-JNF’s board of di­rec­tors de­cided Tues­day af­ter­noon to ap­prove the deal, vot­ing 36 in fa­vor, one against, and one ab­stain­ing. But the board said the deal was con­tin­gent on the gov­ern­ment hon­or­ing it and not pass­ing a bill that would make the or­ga­ni­za­tion pay taxes.

Knes­set Fi­nance Com­mit­tee head Moshe Gafni (United To­rah Ju­daism) an­nounced that he in­tended to ig­nore the com­pro­mise Horowitz reached with KKL-JNF and con­tinue leg­is­lat­ing a bill that would make the or­ga­ni­za­tion pay more money to the state. He said if the gov­ern­ment with­drew its bill, he would is­sue his own leg­is­la­tion.

“There is no rea­son in the world why KKL-JNF will not pay taxes like ev­ery­one else, and we will make it hap­pen by law,” Gafni said.

A KKL-JNF of­fi­cial re­sponded that “Ne­tanyahu must get his coali­tion in or­der.”

Ne­tanyahu has said that the KKL-JNF’s money must be chan­neled to the needs of the state. Coali­tion chair­man David Bi­tan has threat­ened elec­tions over the bill.

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