1) Letter to Daniel Sokatch, Chief Executive of the New Israel Fund, asking about funding for Israeli NGO Molad, when it seems to be in contradiction to NIF funding guidelines (Unanswered; December 4, 2014)

2) Additional Letter to Daniel Sokatch asking about funding for Molad (February 4, 2015)

3) Response by Noami Paiss, Vice President of Public Affairs of the NIF (February 4, 2015)

4) Letter to Naomi Paiss based on her response (February 4, 2015)

December 4, 2014

Dear Daniel,

Regarding the article in today’s (Dec. 4, 2014) Israel HaYom, stating that

“The Labor Party contracted with Molad, a company for the benefit of the public. Recently, the [Labor] Party hired the services of ‘Project 61,’ a Molad program, to help with a campaign it was running against the government regarding the country’s budget, at a cost of 40,000 NIS” (translation from original Hebrew by NGO Monitor).

It appears that such activities by Molad are a direct contradiction to NIF’s funding guidelines, which read, in part: “Organizations that engage in the following activities will not be eligible for NIF grants or support: 1. Participate in partisan political activity.”

We are preparing a report on this issue and would appreciate your response to the following questions:

1) What is NIF’s response to the Israel HaYom article?

2) In accordance with your funding guidelines, will NIF end all funding, including donor-advised grants, to Molad?

Please provide any responses and comments by Monday, December 8.


Naftali Balanson

Managing Editor, NGO Monitor

February 4, 2015

Dear Daniel,

According to Haaretz, NIF’s letter to Likud officials about the V15 campaign included the following:

It continued that the New Israel Fund’s involvement with Molad was limited to certain activities that did not extend to Molad’s “Project 61” – whose name refers to the 61 Knesset members needed to form a coalition – as Likud claimed.

If this paraphrasing is an accurate restatement of NIF’s position, it would appear to contradict NIF’s Funding Guidelines:

Organizations that engage in the following activities will not be eligible for NIF grants or support: 1. Participate in partisan political activity… (emphasis added)

Those guidelines indicate that, when it comes to the list of 8 proscribed activities, NIF does not make such distinctions or exceptions as mentioned in the Haaretz article.

Can you please clarify how, in light of Molad’s “Project 61” initiative, financial support for Molad is consistent with NIF’s Funding Guidelines?

If the Funding Guidelines have changed, please provide the new version and indicate when they were approved by the NIF Board.

Thank you,

Naftali Balanson

Managing Editor, NGO Monitor

February 4, 2015

Hello Mr. Balanson —

Here’s our answer to your question:

The New Israel Fund has supported Molad since its inception and respects it as a groundbreaking, think-and-do tank using innovative activities in support of our progressive agenda.  Project 61 is not affiliated nor coordinated with any partisan political party’s or candidate’s election activities and is much less “political” than the foreign-funded newspaper that faithfully supports the Prime Minister.

Nonetheless, in our funding agreement with Molad, it has always been the case that NIF does not fund Project 61; our support is limited to Molad’s other research and policy activities.

Naomi Paiss

Vice President, Public Affairs

New Israel Fund

February 4, 2015

Dear Ms. Paiss,

Thank you for your prompt reply.

I would respectfully disagree with your characterization of Molad’s activities, in particular Project 61. This initiative is clearly “partisan,” aimed at denigrating politicians and political parties with whom Molad disagrees. Of course that is Molad’s prerogative, but it also is entirely inconsistent with both the plain meaning and spirit of NIF’s Funding Guidelines pertaining to involvement in Israeli elections and political campaigns.

With regards to your specific claim that Molad is not involved with “any partisan political party’s or candidate’s election activities,” I refer you to my unanswered inquiry dated December 4, 2014, regarding claims that Molad did paid work for the Labor Party.

Once again, it appears that NIF has made an exception to its stated guidelines for Molad. This has the effect of eroding confidence that NIF is consistently and firmly enforcing its Funding Guidelines.


Naftali Balanson

Managing Editor, NGO Monitor