August 18, 2016
Dear Friend of Israel,
You’ve undoubtedly read about it in the news – how the Israeli government made the shocking allegation that money given to a well-known charity that raises billions every year to help the poor ended up in the hands of the Hamas terror group. It is shocking not only because a significant portion of these funds – millions of dollars – are said to have been diverted from people in need to a terrorist organization, but because the staff member accused of diverting those funds is alleged to have been recruited by Hamas specifically to infiltrate the charitable organization.
The incident has far-reaching implications. While Hamas claims to have the “best interests” of the Palestinian people at heart, it has repeatedly proven just the opposite by robbing its own people. In fact, Hamas has consistently acted against the best interests of the Palestinian people, not just by stealing funds meant to help the needy among them, but by using innocent Palestinians, including children, as human shields in times of war and conflict. This underscores a statement made by Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu just days ago: “Israel cares more about Palestinians than their own leaders do…Hamas stole critical support for Palestinian children so that they could kill our children.”
Charities must maintain the trust of their donors to maintain their integrity. Supporters, after all, are the lifeblood of any charitable organization; it is their generosity, their care for those in need, that helps keep people alive.
That is why The Fellowship takes the good stewardship of our donors’ funds so seriously. We’re proud that we fulfil the Council of Better Business Bureau Wise Giving Alliance's twenty rigorous standards. Our thorough system of checks and balances ensures that every penny of your donation goes where it is supposed to go. We continuously monitor the projects we fund to ensure that our donors’ sacrificial gifts are being used for the purpose for which they were intended. We utilize trusted resources on the ground in Israel: social workers, mayors, Israel’s welfare department, the education department, the Prime Minister's office for special projects, and trusted Jewish charities with whom we have longstanding relationships. To do any less would be to violate a sacred trust.
The Bible says, “May integrity and uprightness protect me, because my hope, Lord, is in you” (Psalm 25:21). This tells us not only that acting with integrity is the right thing to do, but that it can be found in continually turning to God for guidance. In both our work and our personal lives, let us take refuge in the One who is the source of all integrity, all hope, all goodness. In doing so, we will find that our dealings with others will be upright, our consciences clear, and our hearts at peace.
With prayers for shalom, peace,
Rabbi Yechiel Eckstein
Founder and President