Israel’s Tax Authority has rejected Rabbis for Human Rights‘ application for tax-exemption status because some of its activities do not advance “the benefit of the residents of Israel, ” Haaretz reported.
RHR executive director Ayala Levi told Haaretz, “We are an organization that tries to promote human rights. It is difficult to understand how this can be perceived as something negative.”
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The tax authority’s decision will prevent the group’s donors from claiming tax exemptions.
According to Haaretz, the organization’s first two applications to the Tax Authority over the past decade have received no official response. But a month ago, a 2013 application was refused in a letter from the director for nonprofit associations and public institutions in the Income Tax Commission Erez Orad.
“After examining reports and material you appended to your application, it was found that some of the institution’s activities – such as the ‘territories project’ and the ‘legal project’ – are not for the benefit of the residents of Israel, ” the letter stated.
Orad suggested he would re-examine the application “after the aforementioned defects are removed.”
Rabbis for Human Rights was founded in 1988, and claims more than 100 members, “all ordained Orthodox, Reform, Conservative, Reconstructionist, and Renewal rabbis as well as some rabbinical students.”
According to their website, “Rabbis for Human Rights serves as a shofar for the distribution of information about human rights in Israel and in the Occupied Palestinian Territories. We work in partnership with local Israeli organizations, and with international human rights organizations. We are not aligned with any specific political party.”
But, in reality, the group’s activities as they appear on their website, with few exceptions, are dedicated to advancing the Palestinian cause, and the removal of Jews from the disputed territories.