Menu JTA Search

Conflict Erupts Between the U.S. and Israeli Units of the America-israel Cultural Foundation

The president of the America-Israel Cultural Foundation (AICF) denied reports from Israel last Thursday that the future of the organization was in doubt because of a dispute between its American and Israeli councils.

In a telephone interview with the Jewish Telegraphic Agency, Carl Glick refuted the charges of Israeli Knesset Member Mordechai Virshubsky (Shinui), and said any conflict had ended with Virshubsky’s recent resignation as chairman of the AICF’s Israeli council.

Virshubsky had accused the American council of starting the conflict. He said the council had tried to intervene in the Israeli council’s affairs by demanding that AICF Israeli Director-General Yossi Schiffman be replaced by an unqualified candidate; by refusing to settle the dispute through a mediater; and by altering the foundation’s bylaws without first informing the Israelis.

Virshubsky told JTA Tel Aviv correspondent Hugh Orgel that other Israeli Board members also have expressed dismay, but have agreed to hang on to try to avoid a complete breakdown of the organization and its activities.

DIFFERENT ASSESSMENT OFFERED BY AMERICAN

Glick offered a completely different assessment, contending the problems “resulted from a lack of fiduciary responsibility by Mr. Virshubsky.” He said Virshubsky “was trying to be a Medici” with funds raised by the U.S. council and sent to Israel to support the cuts. The American council sent $2 million to Israel last year, according to Glick.

Glick said Schiffman remains with AICF “at the moment,” but that the Israeli council is searching for a replacement director-general. That choice must be approved by the American Board of Directors. AICF is a non-profit corporation.

The role of the American Board seemed to be in the center of the controversy. Glick said Virshubsky arbitrarily submitted an unapproved set of bylaws to the Israeli government in 1980 to comply with Israeli law. Those bylaws “completely emasculated the (old) bylaws and would have been completely illegal” in the United States, Glick said, as they “would take responsibility away from the American Board and repose it in Israel.”

U.S. corporations must maintain responsibility for how their funds are spent, he explained.

Years later, when Virshubsky’s bylaws were discovered, Glick said the Board of Directors “made a big fuss” and voted to approve bylaws similar to the pre-1980 set, returning fiscal responsibility to the Board.

Glick also denied a report that Knesset Member Simcha Dinitz (Labor) resigned from the Israeli council because of the dispute. Dinitz resigned three weeks earlier, according to Glick, because of other demands on his time.

NEXT STORY