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US evangelical organizations funds West Bank settlements with $65 million over the last decade: Haaretz
US evangelical organizations funds West Bank settlements with $65 million over the last decade: Haaretz
An evangelical woman from US, picking grapes in West Bank settlement.
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West Bank, ALRAY - Christian groups have invested up to $65 million in projects in the West Bank settlement ‘Biblical Heartland’ over the past decade. That doesn’t include services they provide free of charge, like volunteer laborers, Haaretz paper reported Sunday.

The newspaper said that after had conducted an audit of the funds; it estimated it to be between $ 50 million and $ 65 million, based on media reports and reports handed over to US tax authorities and a report by the Molad Center in 2015. It founded that 11 evangelical organizations collected this amounts.

Hayovel, the U.S. organization that brings volunteers workers to Har Bracha, is among a growing list of evangelical groups that operate exclusively in the so-called “biblical heartland.” Over the past decade, it has brought more than 1,700 volunteers to the settlements – and only the settlements because, as a matter of principle, its volunteers do not assist farmers within Israel proper.

There were many years when Hayovel operated under the radar, believing that the less Israelis knew what it was up to, the better.

These days, the nonprofit is more than happy to host journalists and the curious at its main campus, located on this settlement that overlooks the large Palestinian city of Nablus.

The paper noted that willingness to be so aboveboard about its activities is evidence of how mainstream such interactions between Christian evangelicals and Jewish settlers have become.

The Heart of Israel (also known as the Binyamin Fund) is another nonprofit benefiting from these ties. Established three years ago, the organization raises hundreds of thousands of dollars yearly for earmarked projects in the settlements, according to its American-born founder, Aaron Katsof.

Although Katsof says evangelicals do not account for the bulk of the money he raises, they do account for the vast majority of his donors. “You have to realize that while the average Jew gives $1,500, the average Christian gives $50,” he says. “But their share is growing very, very fast.”

Although Katsof says evangelicals do not account for the bulk of the money he raises, they do account for the vast majority of his donors. “You have to realize that while the average Jew gives $1,500, the average Christian gives $50,” he says. “But their share is growing very, very fast.”

A 2015 report by Molad, a progressive Israeli think tank, tried to estimate the amount of money being invested in the settlements by the evangelical community. It concluded that it was virtually impossible – among other reasons because “many of the Israeli NGOs active in Judea and Samaria do not fully abide by the rules of transparency and do not report to the NGO Registrar, in violation of the law.”

Based on  on media reports about specific projects, Haaretz estimates the total amount of funding raised in the past 10 years at somewhere between $50 million and $65 million. The calculation takes into account all the major nonprofits that direct their fundraising efforts at the evangelical community and enjoy 501c status in the United States.

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