Hazon Yeshaya UK halts sending funds to Israel

By Joseph Millis - Thursday 1st December 2011

Hazon Yeshaya founder and director Abraham Israel

An Israeli charity this week moved to refute claims by its British branch over "a number of concerns" that had caused the UK arm to stop sending donors' funds to Israel.

The issue arose when a Canadian supporter of Hazon Yeshaya - which sets up soup kitchens, holds workshops and provides dental care for the poor - visited its Jerusalem office and conducted what one insider said was an "uncommissioned" audit. The insider added that the person gave a negative account of the office's activities and his concerns spread like wildfire to the UK and Hong Kong branches which have ceased sending funds to Israel.

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Hazon Yeshaya Israel accused the overseas branches of "casting aspersions and spreading rumours" an allegation the British branch found "oddly defensive".

Last Friday, the trustees of Hazon Yeshaya UK sent a letter to its supporters saying it had been "made aware of a number of concerns relating to elements of the Hazon Yeshaya network in Israel".

It continued: "As a result, we have appointed Deloitte to undertake an independent investigation in Israel. This will enable us to be sure that all donations from Hazon Yeshaya UK are being properly applied in Israel, and that Hazon Yeshaya in Israel is following the principles of good governance. Until we are all reassured, Hazon Yeshaya UK is suspending the transmission of funds to Israel."

Hazon Yeshaya UK added that by withdrawing its funding, for the time being, "we are carrying out our responsibilities to our donors in the UK and to the ultimate beneficiaries in Israel whom Hazon Yeshaya was set up to help. We hope that these concerns will be resolved in the near future and that we will be able to resume payments to help the beneficiaries in Israel."

In response, the directors of Hazon Yeshaya Humanitarian Network in Israel said they were "keen" to reassure its supporters that there was "no cause for concern, as alleged in a recent statement posted on the UK Friends website and released to the media".

It added: "Hazon Yeshaya has co-operated fully with the audit by Deloitte Brightman Almagor Zohar, which was commissioned by the UK Friends, and has confidence that their report will show that there are no financial irregularities or problems with its humanitarian operations.

"It is easy to cast aspersions and spread rumours that are based on mistakes and misinformation. People who have visited our facilities have seen for themselves the important work we are doing, and the Deloitte audit will prove that all donations are being properly applied in Israel according to the principles of good governance."

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