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June 13, 1986 - Image 86

Resource type:
The Detroit Jewish News, 1986-06-13

Disclaimer: Computer generated plain text may have errors. Read more about this.


Friday, June 13, 1986



Jerusalem — Eliezer D. Jaffe says that
if he lived in America, he'd want Israelis
to advise him about sending charitable
dollars to Israel.
"If I hadn't made aliyah in 1960, I would
be over there sending money over here.
And I would want somebody . living in
Israel, who knew the situation, to be
helpful to me," explained Jaffe, 52, pro-
fessor at the Hebrew University School of
Social Work, in a recent interview.
Furthermore, he said, "I have a respon-
sibility as a professional, as well as a
kinsman."Jaffe teaches that the system
is not always right just because it exists.
This attitude has led him to an active
role in developing Israel's social work pro-
fession. It's almost made him anathema to
some fundraisers and fund-spenders.
"He may mean well but his criticism is
often half-cocked and harmful," says one
Federation leader.
"There's a lot of character assassination,
but they can't muzzle me," says Jaffe.
"I'm a professor at the university, I have
my kviut (tenure) and my salary. I'm
not rich and there's no money in it, but
this for me is a terribly important respon-
Sharply critical of Israelis responsible
for the "politicization of the philanthropic
effort" on behalf of Israel, Jaffe also ac-
cuses fundraisers of attempting to control
information that reaches the public. He
has recently published, at his own expense,
Givers and Spenders: The Politics of Char-


Eliezer Jaffe
is one of Israel's
most outspoken critics
of the 'politics
of charity.'

Special to The Jewish News

ity in Israel, "a reader for . the
philanthropist-donor." It's a compilation
of mostly previously published articles
and letters by Jaffe and others.
First on Jaffe's agenda in the book and
in much of his writing on the subject is
reform of the Jewish Agency and the
World Zionist Organization. He believes
the WZO is a wasteful, inefficient organi-
zation rife with politics, which has gained
control of Jewish Agency funds raised
mostly abroad through the United Jewish
Appeal and Keren Hayesod campaigns.
He maintains that the philanthropic ef-
fort became politicized because half of the
personnel of the Jewish Agency and its
bodies are representatives of the WZO,
which he described as almost a carbon
copy of the party setup of the Israeli
Knesset. The department chairmanships
of the Jewish Agency are political appoint-
ments decided in the WZO Congress,
which is made up of party delegations.
Jaffe feels that if the Jewish Agency must
exist, it should separate from the WZO
and be radically restructured. .
"People still give because it's Jewish,"
he said. "But on the other hand, some very
important leaders have come around to
understanding that there's a need for
drastic reform of the Agency."
"My stance is this," he explained. "If
you're serious about reform — I'm saying
this to the fundraisers and the givers —
then what you have to do is split the

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