KKL-JNF approves compromise deal over funding
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.