(JNS.org) The Jewish National
Fund (JNF) has announced that it is withdrawing from the upcoming gala honoring
Israeli President Shimon Peres, where former U.S. President Bill Clinton will
earn a $500,000 fee to speak.
Former President Bill Clinton. Credit: Wikimedia Commons.
Hayom investigation had revealed that JNF gave the Peres Academic Center,
which is hosting the event to celebrate Peres’s 90th birthday, part of the
money to cover Clinton’s fee, with the academic center covering the rest. The
report sparked outrage in the Jewish community over the large sum for Clinton.
But in a letter sent to JNF board members on
Thursday, JNF CEO Eli Spiegler wrote, “In order to remove any doubt, neither
the JNF nor any of its members have ever had any contact with Clinton or his
representatives” regarding the speaking fee, Israel National News reported.
Spiegler also wrote there were several
inaccuracies in media reports about the Clinton fee, and that JNF has decided
to pull out of the event out of respect for Clinton and Peres.
“The [JNF steering]
committee decided that the atmosphere created does not allow JNF to pay the due
respect to former president Clinton and President Peres and our friends and
supporters abroad,” he wrote.