Madoff scandal 'a shot through Jewish heart'
Israeli social groups fear repercussions of mass embezzlement which stripped US Jewish charities of millions of dollars may spell up to 30% drop in donations made to local organizations
As many of the Jewish bodies in the United States are still trying to figure out just how affected they were by the Madoff scandal, elements who have been liaising between the donors and the various charities, have called the financial sting "a shot through the Jewish heart."
Last week it was revealed that former NASDAQ chairman, Jewish-American Bernard Madoff, embezzled some $50 billion off various organizations through his company, Bernard L. Madoff Investment Securities.
This latest blow has hit the Jewish philanthropists in the midst of the financial crisis sweeping through the US, as bleak projections estimate donations to Israel stand to drop some 20%.
But it is not only the smaller groups which rely on donation that find themselves in a predicament – the larges Jewish organizations, such as the Joint and the Jewish Agency are in trouble as well.
The United Jewish Communities umbrella organization, which funnels its members' donations to these bodies, has told Ynet that estimating the future impact of the scandal in difficult at this time. Sources in the Jewish Agency reiterated the sentiment.
Nachman Shai, UJC Israel executive vice president and director-general until a fortnight ago, told Ynet he believes the extant of the damage would be made evident only in 2009.
Once of the reasons for the ambiguity is believed to be the groups' reluctance to divulge their losses in the Madoff scandal; and many of the organization may need to regroup as a result.
The sector most likely to be hurt first is the third sector.
Israel, as most democratic societies, is made up of three sectors: The public sector, made up of national and local governmental organizations; the business sector, which consists of for-profit industries; and the third sector, which links the public and private sectors to families and individuals.
The Yad Sarah organization, which provides a variety of free services for the disabled and elderly, can already tell of at least one donor foundation which have been struck in the scandal, and fear many other donors have been affected as well.
"We already know we'll see a serious drop in donations next year," said the organization, adding that while some of the plans for next year have been put on hold, its financial straits will not affect those in need of its services.
Eliezer Ya'ari, executive-director of the New Israel Fund, added that "if the Jewish federations find themselves in a bind, Israel will see a lot less funds. In 2008, the donors have kept their pledges, but 2009 will be difficult and donations stand to drop 20% to 30%."
Wednesday, December 17, 2008
Really sorry for Yad Sarah, but at least one good thing is coming out of this mess: the NEW ISRAEL FUND'S BUDGET WILL BE SLASHED . Less money to cause trouble.
08:17 , 12.16.08
Posted by DS at 4:02 AM