Film about Jerusalem, the 'eternal capital' of Israel, produced by the Canadian branch of the JF
The Jerusalem Foundation was founded in 1966 by the former Israeli mayor of the city Teddy Kollek. It claims to work toward 'creating an open, equitable and modern society by responding to the needs of residents and improving their quality of life' and has carried out thousands of projects - such as building community centers, sports complexes, parks, children’s playgrounds, libraries, theaters and museums - across the city including in East Jerusalem.
It works closely with the Jerusalem Municipality and regards the city as having been 'unified', stressing that Arab citizens of Jerusalem can also benefit from its projects but ignores the fact that under international law East Jerusalem is considered illegally occupied territory. The JF refers to Jerusalem as 'Israel's capital city' - a status not recognized by the international community which regards East Jerusalem as the future capital of a Palestinian state.
In 1965 Teddy Kollek was appointed Mayor of West Jerusalem and he established the Jerusalem Foundation the following year with the aim of 'raising funds in Israel and around the world to promote the social and physical development' of Jerusalem. In 1967 Israel captured and occupied East Jerusalem and extended the city's municipal boundaries so that Kollek became de facto mayor of all Jerusalem. The foundation's logo, a tulip symbol, is reportedly 'shaped as a turret from the Old City wall'.
Ruth Cheshin, co-founder and current President Emeritus of the JF, served as President for 45 years from its inception. The JF claims that over $1.5 billion was raised during this time. In October 2011 Mark Sofer was appointed as the new president. He was formerly Deputy Director General of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Israel's Ambassador to Ireland and then to India.
Since being founded in Jerusalem, the foundation established international boards in the USA, UK, Austria, Canada, France (and French speaking countries), Germany, Italy, Switzerland, Spain and Brazil.
Mitt Romney speech 2012
On July 29 2012 the Republican American Presidential candidate Mitt Romney addressed the Jerusalem Foundation during his visit to Israel. His speech praised Israel's achievements as a 'wonder of the modern world' and pointedly called Jerusalem 'the capital of Israel', in defiance of international law and numerous UN resolutions. He did not mention Palestinians or the occupation once.
The Jerusalem Foundation claims it has worked on over 4000 projects and states that its work 'touches every population – Jewish, Muslim and Christian – of every social group of every age, in every neighborhood of the city'. It boasts that the 'landscape of Jerusalem has been immeasurably enriched' by its work and declares that it 'has an unmatched track record in creating and nurturing philanthropy projects in Israel'. As well as building community centers, sports complexes, parks, theaters and museums, the JF funds educational projects, support for the elderly and those with special needs and sponsors cultural activities.
In 1978, JF founder Teddy Kollek initiated the establishment of the Jerusalem Institute for Israel Studies (JIIS) which conducts research on three core topics: Jerusalem, conflict resolution and environmental policy.
Some of the JF's flagship projects have included the Tisch Family Zoological Gardens, the Naggar School of Photography, Media and New Music, the Stella and Alexander Margulies Education Center on Mount Herzl, the Max Rayne Hand in Hand School for Bilingual Education, The Sobell Oncology Unit at Hadassah Hospital, The Kraft Stadium, the Bernard M. Bloomfield Science Museum, and the Koschitzky Young Adults Center at the Morasha Community Center - all named after prominent donors to the organisation.
Projects in Occupied East Jerusalem
Under article 49 of the Fourth Geneva Convention, which states that an occupying power 'shall not deport or transfer parts of its own civilian population into the territory it occupies', Israeli construction and settlement beyond the Green Line is illegal. The Jerusalem Foundation - which carries out building projects in settlements such as Gilo, Neve Ya'akov, Pisgat Ze'ev, East Talpiot and French Hill - can be seen as complicit in the Israeli state's illegal settlement activity of East Jerusalem.
The JF has also built in Palestinian neighbourhoods in East Jerusalem including Sheikh Jarrah and Silwan, which have both been targeted by settlers and are seen by some commentators as areas where the Israeli authorities are carrying out a form of ethnically cleansing - the term has been used by the UN Special Rapporteur on the on the situation of human rights in the occupied Palestinian Territories, Richard Falk, and Palestinian journalist Ahmed Moor, among others. The JF built a medical centre and sports field in the former and a school and kindergarten in the latter. In Silwan, the JF has also 'pioneered much of the archaeological discovery and preservation projects including the City of David excavations', a notorious dig interpreted by some commentators as a means to strengthen Israel's control of East Jerusalem.
Funding for East Jerusalem projects
- Three out of four of the JF's listed projects in the Palestinian neighbourhood of Shuafat were funded by Yad Hanadiv, a Rothschild family philanthropic foundation operating in Israel.
- The JF medical centre in the Palestinians neighbourhood of Sheikh Jarrah was built with money from a number of sources including the Berlin Municipality and British registered charities the Sobell Foundation and the Rayne Foundation.
- A sports field in Sheik Jarrah was renovated in 1996 with funds from an American organisation called the Foundation for New Era Philanthropy. It is not clear if there is any connection to the notorious Ponzi scheme of the same name which was bankrupted in 1995, or not.
- A kindergarten in the Palestinian Silwan area was funded with American money from the Jacob and Hilda Blaustein Foundation.
- A Silwan school was provided with equipment with the help of the German state of North Rhine Westphalia.
- An adventure playground in the East Jerusalem settlement of Neve Ya’acov was in part funded by the leadership of the UK Jerusalem Foundation and the Community Development Programme in the same place by the JF’s New York leadership.
- A high school in the settlement of Pisgat Ze’ev was funded entirely by Lily Safra, widow of Edmond Safra and one of the richest women in the world.
- Four projects in East Talpiot were carried out with the help of North America, Canadian, Swiss and Israeli money.
- A kindergarten in the French Hill settlement received donations from Germany.
'Museum on the Seam' in the Baramki house
The Jerusalem Foundation says that its project, the 'Museum on the Seam', established in 1999 through 'the generous support of the von Holtzbrinck family of Germany', aims to make 'a contribution to a better society in Israel and abroad' and 'calls for listening and dialogue, for acceptance of the Other in society and those different from us and for respect for human dignity and liberty'. However, the Palestinian Campaign for the Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israel (PACBI) claims that the building is the rightful property of the Palestinian Baramki family, having been built by prominent Palestinian architect, Andoni Baramki in 1932 but appropriated by the Israeli state 'under the racist Absentees’ Property Law of 1950, which was used to pillage the property of Palestinians ethnically cleansed during the Nakba and even those who were internally displaced and declared as “present absentees.”' PACBI states that the story of the building is 'one of thousands of similar stories; but this particular case exemplifies the wider injustice' and calls for pressure to be put on Israel to return it and other properties.
Culture as propaganda
In its 2010 annual report, the JF that one of the aims of its cultural projects is 'impacting the city's image as a dynamic, relevant cultural center' and that its 'intensive efforts, accompanied by those of the Jerusalem Municipality and other strategic partners, are bearing noticeable and measurable results.' It describes how 'Israeli and international press covering many of the city's cultural events highlighted the richness and quality of Jerusalem's unique and varied cultural landscape' and claims that the 'significant increase in cultural activity and the positive change in the public perception were a direct result of our continued, strategic support'. In 2011, the section on cultural projects in the JF's annual report stated that one of its three overarching goals was to 'Impact the Image of the City'.
UK boycott of Jerusalem Quartet
The Jerusalem Quartet, described by the JF as 'prestigious cultural ambassador for Jerusalem and Israel' who requested donors provide $140,000 to sponsors their classical music tours, have been boycotted in Edinburgh, London and Brighton.
Palestinian call for boycott of writers festival
In February 2012 PACBI, the Palestinian Campaign for the Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israel, issued a statement calling on writers not to take part in the International Writers' Festival, held in Mishkenot Sha'ananim, Jerusalem, May 13-18 2012. Sponsored by the Jerusalem Foundation, along with the Israeli Ministry of Culture, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, and the Jerusalem Municipality, the Israeli President was also due to preside over the festival's opening. PACBI noted the public relations intent of the festival to 'improve the image of Jerusalem'. In their view, participation in the festival constituted a 'celebration of Apartheid' since 'Israel subjects Palestinians to a cruel system of dispossession and racial discrimination' in Jerusalem and elsewhere. They called on writers to boycott the festival and cited John Berger, Arundhati Roy, Alice Walker, Judith Butler, Iain Banks, Naomi Klein, Ahdaf Soueif and Eduardo Galeano as notable pro-boycott literary figures.
Boycott From Within call for boycott of Israel Festival
In 2012 Israeli citizens from 'Boycott From Within' who support the Palestinian call for Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions, called on artists due to participate in the Israeli Festival, held in Jerusalem in May, not to participate. They wrote: 'Please do not whitewash segregation, racism and occupation' and stated that the call to boycott was 'all the more relevant' because the festival was sponsored by the Israeli Ministry of Tourism, the Municipality of Jerusalem and the Jerusalem Foundation. The British Council and the US Embassy in Tel Aviv also sponsored the festival. They warned potential performers that 'the Israeli government will endeavor to use your name to legitimize and promote the current oppressive and racist order'.
'Stemming negative migration': playing the demographic game?
In the foundation's 2010 annual report, President Ruth Cheshin wrote: 'Our work over the last few years has largely focused on stemming negative migration from the city'. When Mark Sofer succeeded her as President in 2011, he reiterated this concern in the 2011 annual report, describing the fact that '[m]ore and more young families are moving out of Jerusalem' as a 'challenge' and writing of an increase in residents in one neighbourhood, Kiryat HaYovel, 'defying the citywide trend and a statistic we would like to see take hold citywide'. According to the Jerusalem Institute for Israel Studies (JIIS) - established with the support of JF founder Teddy Kollek - migration from Jerusalem has accelerated in the last three decades and the vast majority of those choosing to leave have been Jewish residents.
While data from the Central Bureau of Statistic reportedly shows that Jewish and Arab birthrates in Jerusalem are approximately equal, the high negative migration of Jews is contributing to a decline in Jerusalem's Jewish majority. The JIIS has compiled data charting this trend and observes:
Over the years, there has been an evident decline in the proportionate size of Jerusalem’s Jewish population, with a concomitant increase in the proportion of the Arab population. The proportion of the Jewish population fell from 74% in 1967 to 72% in 1980, to 68% in 2000, and to 64% in 2010. Simultaneously the Arab population rose from 26% in 1967 to 28% in 1980, to 32% in 2000, and to 36% in 2010'.
Since the negative migration referred to by the JF is occurring overwhelmingly among Jewish residents and contributing to a decreasing Jewish majority in the city, it seems that the JF's focus on stemming migration may indicate a concern with demographics and the balance of Jewish and non-Jewish residents in Jerusalem. Although the population of the city is growing overall, such concerns would chime with the discourse of many Israeli politicians. Labor and Kadima officials have, according to Israeli newspaper Haaretz, been worried by the trend, which they term Jerusalem's 'demographic problem' and have 'advocated changing Jerusalem's jurisdiction' to counteract it. Former Prime Minister Ehud Olmert proposed partitioning Jerusalem and excluding Arab neighbourhoods in order to 'secure the Jewish majority of the city'. Israeli journalist Nadavai Shragai has referred to 'the demographic crisis of the Jews in Jerusalem', while another writer has stated: 'As Jerusalem’s Arab population swells and Jewish population shrinks, Israelis are becoming increasingly concerned about the difficulty of maintaining Jerusalem’s status as the eternal capital of the Jewish State in the future.' The New York Times reports that '[f]or four decades, Israel has pushed to build and expand Jewish neighborhoods, while trying to restrict the growth in Arab parts of the city'. although the allegation that Israel is trying to 'Judaize' the city is vehemently denied by some supporters.
Further evidence that that the JF's concern with out-migration is related to demography can be found in a Jerusalem Post article of 2007, reporting that then JF President Ruth Cheshin criticised the Israeli government's perceived inaction in the face of what she referred to as 'demographic challenges' and other problems such as poverty. She said: 'History will surely judge all those who stood at the helm of the government and did not bother to save and cultivate Jerusalem'. The Post reported that her criticism came 'on the heels of a series of 'surveys and statistics showing that the population of Jerusalem is becoming increasingly less Jewish, with thousands of young Israelis quitting the city in search of better jobs and affordable housing in the suburbs and nearby cities'. In addition, Cheshin's successor Mark Sofer has expressed worries over '[t]he trend of certain groups and young people leaving' Jerusalem and described the city as having 'demographic problems'.
One of the JF's strategic aims is 'greening Jerusalem' and a key goal is to 'promote Jerusalem as a national, and perhaps global, model of a Green City', according to its report Greening the City of Gold: A Comprehensive Environmental Strategy. It seeks to use environmental projects as a means to gloss over legitimate political grievances, stating that it is 'a neutral subject that can be shared by all Jerusalem’s populations, despite ethnic, social and political differences.' By stressing that the struggle for sustainability is an issue that affects 'all sides equally', the JF attempts to obscure the legal, social, economic and political inequalities faced by Palestinians: 'The Joint Environment, Community and Future program was developed jointly by the Adam Institute for Democracy and Peace in Jerusalem and the Palestinian Center for Democracy and Community Development. At the center of the program is the understanding that the existing environmental issues and conflicts that exist in the Israeli–Palestinian geographical area influence all sides equally, regardless of political boundaries.'
Partnering with the JNF
The JF's partner organisations reveal the highly political nature of its environmental work and its instrumentalisation as a means of promoting Israel and shifting the focus away from discrimination against Palestinians. Its work on Community Gardens, for instance, might have been innocuous were it not for the fact that it works closely with the state - the Jerusalem Municipality and the Ministry of Environmental Protection - as well as the Joint Distribution Committee and the Jewish National Fund, the latter notorious for its greenwashing activities.
The other Buffer Zone
Ironically, the JF's report, discussing the protection of animal species, uses the term 'Buffer Zone' to describe 'a natural separation area between intensive human activities and the gazelle population'. Its more common usage in Israel is to signify the military no-go area covering land and sea around the perimeter of the Gaza Strip which prevents farmers and fishermen from working and in which many Palestinians have been killed and injured by the Israeli military.
Teddy Kollek Award
The Jerusalem Foundation gives out the Teddy Kollek Award - named after the founder of the organisation - annually to "those who have demonstrated significant contributions to the city of Jerusalem". Frequently it gives the prize to groups and individuals who have consistently donated to the Jerusalem Foundation.
- 2005 winners included Simon Rothschild (Switzerland) and John C. Whitehead (United States), both donors.
- 2006 winners included Dr. h.c. Johannes Gerster (Germany) and The Hon. Marion and Guy Naggar (United Kingdom), both donors.
- 2007 winners included Mendel Kaplan (South Africa) and The Rayne Foundation (United Kingdom), both donors.
- 2008 winners included The Sobell Foundation (United Kingdom) and the Life Achievement Award went to Lia Van Leer (Israel), both donors.
- 2009 winners included BMW Group (Germany) & Marcus Margulies (United Kingdom) and a Lifetime Achievement Award was given to Lord Weidenfeld (United Kingdom); all are donors.
- 2010 winners included Robert de Rothschild, a JF donor.
- 2011 winners included Aleksander Gudzowaty, Poland and Fred Worms, United Kingdom and Israel, both donors.
According to the client list of Finn Partners Israel, formerly called Ruder Finn Israel, the company has worked for Jerusalem Foundation as well as a series of government agencies and Israeli lobby groups and NGOs.
- Adam Institute for Democracy and Peace
- Hebrew University of Jerusalem
- Jerusalem Institute for Israel Studies
- Jerusalem Municipality
- Jewish National Fund
- Joint Distribution Committee
The Jerusalem Foundation, Inc., 420 Lexington Avenue, Suite 1645, New York, NY 10170. In 2010 the organisation reported a revenue of $11,445,904.
Moshe Fogel - Executive Director | Alan G. Hassenfeld - Chairman | Kenneth J. Bialkin - Vice Chairman | Mark Sofer - International President | Stephen R. Reiner - Secretary/Treasurer | Nahum Bernstein (deceased) - Founding Chairman | Alvin Einbender - Honorary Chairman | Ambassador Max M. Kampelman - Honorary Chairman | Sallai Meridor - International Chairman | Harvey Rothenberg - Founding Secretary/Treasurer | Steven Scheinfeld - General Counsel |
Isaac Appelbaum | David N. Bottoms, Jr. | Daniel Crown | Lester Crown | Neal Goldman | Linda Jesselson | Jordan Kassalow | Robert Kraft | Nathan Leight | Isidore Mayrock | Theodore Mirvis | Allen Model | Ambassador Lyndon Olson, Jr. | Bernard M. Plum | Bernard Rapoport | David Recanati | Craig Reicher | John Shapiro | Herbert Wander | Leonard A. Wilf | Honorable John C. Whitehead - Director Emeritus |
The Jerusalem Foundation in the UK (registered charity number: 258306) is administered by Prism the Gift Fund ((Number: 1099682), registered to 20 Gloucester Place,London, W1U 8HA. In 2010 the JF's UK arm reported an income of £1,196,030..
Peter Halban, CBE - Chairman of Board of Directors | Leslie Paisner- Founder (deceased) | Lois Sieff, OBE - Chairman Emeritus | Peter Sheldon OBE - Treasurer | Howard Leigh - Executive | Guy Naggar Executive |
Janet Wolfson de Botton | Dame Vivien Clore Duffield, CBE | Jack Livingstone,OBE | Lord Moser | Martin Paisner CBE | Ninette Perahia | Lady Jane Rayne | The Hon. Robert Rayne | Anthony Rosenfelder | Mak Sofer | Lord Weidenfeld | Lord Woolf | Michael Ziff
Lord Bernstein - former President of the UK Board | Nurit Gordon - former UK Desk Head in Jerusalem | Michael Phillips - former Excutive | Fred Worms, OBE - former Executive | Anthony Bloom - former Executive | Jane Biran- former trustee | Ruth Cheshin - former trustee | Sir Harry Djanogly, CBE- former trustee | David Pannick, QC - former trustee | Lord Stone of Blackheath - former trustee | Sheila Ford - former Administrator| 
Other overseas branches
The Jerusalem Foundation also has boards internationally in the following countries:
In February 2012 a new Jerusalem Foundation office was opened in Geneva.
Formerly the Jerusalem Foundation had a presence in the Netherlands (circa 2005), in Australia (2005-6), and in the Principality of Lichenstein (2005-2008).
Since 2003, the JF has had a regular annual income averaging more than $25 million. Its 2011 annual report puts its income that year at $26.8 million. Of this, 39.8% was raised in the United States, 9.9% in Israel itself, 9.4% in the UK and the rest from other international sources. Private donors contributed 75% of this income, foundations provided 18% and 'Governments and Public Support' 6.6%.
Declining American contributions
Donations from North America seem to have decreased in recent years. In its earliest available annual report from 2005, the JF reports that its USA arm contributed 53% of its overall income and in 2006 this rose to 57%. However in 2007, the proportion dropped to under half of the total, with 49.8%, and the following year the figure was 44.4%. By 2009 contributions from the USA had shrunk to 28.7% though this ratio has risen again in recent years - but remained under 40%. In 2010 the USA contributed 37.8% and then 39.8% in 2011.
The trend of declining income for American 'Friends of' Israeli organisation is reportedly widespread. Some view the impact of recession as the main factors but Steven Cohen of the Hebrew Union College has claimed that the acquisition of younger supporters is becoming difficult for such groups and that 'the increase in intermarriage is correlated with a decrease in attachment to Israel'. A growing population of Orthodox Jews could offset that reluctance, he claims.
JF America's national director in 2011, James Gurland, has said that new, younger supporters are being sought because the average age of the group's top 20 donors is 65 - and they account for '60 to 70 percent of the organization’s gifts'. Efforts to woo new supporters have included hosting its first gala in 10 years in December 2011 'in the hope that the event will lure new donors'. The foundation also reportedly sponsored a group of fellows on behalf of a social entrepreneurship ideas incubator called PresenTense 'to strengthen its connections to emerging philanthropists and leaders'.
Donors to the Jerusalem Foundation listed in its annual reports have included several branches of the Israeli government, a number of European state sources, private sector donors - including an an arms company, Excalibur Systems Ltd - and a series of well-known Zionist organisations and individuals.
|Jerusalem Municipality||Ministry of Education - Israel||Bituach Leumi (National Insurance Institute, Israel)|
|Ministry of Culture||The Joint Distribution Committee - Israel||Ministry of Culture and Sport|
|Ministry of Tourism|
|National Bank of Austria||Swiss Government (DEZA — Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation)||Austrian Chancellery|
|Austrian Embassy||Austrian Ministry of Education and Science||Geneva Municipality|
|Liechtenstein Principality||Ministero degli Esteri (Ministry of Foreign Affairs), Italy||Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Cooperation of Spain|
|Austrian Ministry of Education, Art and Culture||French Embassy||Province of Rome|
|Delegation of the EU|
|B.M.W. Group||Daimler-Chrysler||Glencore Foundation for Education and Welfare|
|Bank of Jerusalem||Excalibur Systems Ltd||Coca Cola Israel|
|GivingExpress Program of AMEX||Goldman Sachs & Company||News Corporation Foundation|
|Novartis International||UBS, Jersey||Israel Chemicals Ltd|
|Bnai Brith Leo Baeck (London)||Canadian Christians for Israel||Axel Springer Foundation|
|Jewish Agency||Manchester Friends of the Jerusalem Foundation in Conjunction with Machester J.I.A||UK Board of Trustees & Friends of the Jerusalem Foundation|
|Lewis Family Charitable Trust||Charles & Lynn Schusterman Family Foundation||Keren Hayesod Canada|
|Andrea and Charles Bronfman Philanthropies||Jewish National Fund - Canada||Jewish National Fund - USA|
|Bialkin Family Foundation, see Kenneth Bialkin.||World Zionist Organization (WZO)||Ronson Foundation, see Gerald Ronson|
|Wolfensohn Family Foundation, see James Wolfensohn|
|Nir Barkat - Jerusalem Mayor and JF Honorary Chairman||Guy Naggar||Dame Vivien Duffield DBE, through the Clore Israel Foundation|
|Renee and Lester Crown (2005)||Pierre Besnainou - French businessman||Charles Bronfman|
|Della and Fred Worms||Sir Trevor Chinn||Sir Ronald Cohen|
|Dame Shirley Porter - disgraced former leader of Westminster Council||Ruth Cheshin - former JF President||Lord Weidenfield & Lady Weidenfield|
|Robert De Rothschild||Kurt Rothschild||Simon Rothschild|
|Righteous Persons Foundation - film director Steven Spielberg’s charity||Ronald Lauder||Judy and Michael Steinhardt - co-founder of Taglit-Birthright|
|Dan Meridor - Likud Minister||Aleksander Gudzowaty - Polish billionaire||Richard Desmond - British newspaper owner|
|Gil Troy & Linda Adams||Clive Marks OBE||Lord Bernstein CBE|
|Sir Harry Djanogly & Lady Carol Djanogly||Robert Kraft & Myra Kraft (Kraft food group)||Max M. Kampelman - American diplomat|
- Community Empowerment at the Abna Al-Quds (Spafford) Community Center, January 2010
- Greening the City of Gold: A Comprehensive Environmental Strategy, May 2011
- Report on Coexistence and East Jerusalem Community Development Activities, 2011
- Address: 11 Rivka Street, P.O.B. 10185 Jerusalem, 91101 Israel
- Tel: 972 - 2 - 675 1711
- Fax: 972 -2 - 673 4462
- Email: email@example.com
- Website: www.jerusalemfoundation.org
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