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Israel group raises US tax-exempted funds for Jewish extremists - report

Israeli extremist Yosef Haim Ben-David (C), the ringleader of the killing of Palestinian teenager Mohammed Abu Khdeir last year, is escorted by Israeli policemen at the district court in Jerusalem on April 19, 2016. [Photo AHMAD GHARABLI/AFP via Getty Images]
Israeli extremist Yosef Haim Ben-David (C), the ringleader of the killing of Palestinian teenager Mohammed Abu Khdeir last year, is escorted by Israeli policemen at the district court in Jerusalem on April 19, 2016. [Photo AHMAD GHARABLI/AFP via Getty Images]

An Israeli group is collecting tax-exempt donations from Americans for Jewish extremists convicted of terrorism, committing hate and racist crimes against Palestinians and Israeli citizens.

A joint investigation by The Associated Press (AP) and the Israeli investigative platform, Shomrim, whose results were published on Tuesday, revealed that the Israeli group "Shlom Asiraich" has launched its fund-raising scheme through the New Jersey-based World of Tzedaka, a non-profit that says it works "to enable any individual or organisation to raise money for their specific cause".

Donors in the US can either donate directly through World of Tzedaka's site or enter the Shlom Asiraich site and click on a link that takes them to a donation page hosted by World of Tzedaka.

Shlom Asiraich's promotional pamphlets show that its beneficiaries include Yigal Amir, who assassinated Israeli late Prime Minister, Yitzhak Rabin in 1995; Amiram Ben-Uliel, convicted in the 2015 murder of a Palestinian baby and his parents in an arson attack and Yosef Chaim Ben David, convicted of abducting and killing a 16-year-old Palestinian boy in Jerusalem in 2014. The group also assists an extremist ultra-Orthodox man who fatally stabbed a 16-year-old Israeli girl at Jerusalem's gay pride parade in 2015.

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Furthermore, according to documents obtained by the AP, Shlom Asiraich was registered as a non-profit with Israeli authorities by Chanamel Dorfman, an attorney and a top aide to Itamar Ben-Gvir, Israel's new National Security Minister and leader of the far right Otzma Yehudit Party.

The investigation also stated that the Association is run by a group of settlers in the Occupied West Bank.

At least five of the group's seven founders have themselves been questioned by Israeli authorities for crimes related to their activities against Palestinians. Some have been arrested and charged.

The overseas fund-raising arrangement has made it easier for Shlom Asiraich to collect money from Americans, who can make their contributions through the US non-profit with a credit card and claim a tax deduction.

According to the investigation, one of group's co-founders and the person who registered the Association under his personal address is Jewish extremist Moshe Orbach, a resident of Yitzhar settlement, who was convicted in 2016 and sentenced to two years in prison on charges of sedition, inciting violence and distributing racist leaflets.

Another co-founder is Or Sharga, who was arrested in 2021 on suspicion of attacking and injuring Palestinians with weapons.

A third co-founder is Rai Schindler, who was described by representatives of the State Attorney's Office as an "extreme right-wing activist … known to be an accomplice of extremist activists and suspected of committing unlawful acts of violence on a racial background, including arson and vandalism of vehicles".

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