Both ORT Israel and World ORT are interpreting last month’s court ruling on a naming dispute as favorable.
The recent Israeli court decision ruled that ORT Israel has the exclusive rights to the ORT name in Israel, contrary to a May 1 JTA report.
The Haifa court said that World ORT may not represent itself in Israel as ORT and that World ORT should pay ORT Israel the legal costs of bringing the dispute to court: $42,500 plus tax.
But the decision also said World ORT may continue to represent itself in Israel using its full name, World ORT.
The two ORTs severed ties last year over fund-raising differences and have fought for the last year over the rights to use the ORT name in Israel. The dispute was significant because the two sides were fighting over who had the right to take credit for ORT’s good works in Israel – and the consequent fund-raising potential of advertising that fact to donors.
ORT Israel, which runs a system of technical schools in Israel, had been a subsidiary of the London-based World ORT, which runs a worldwide system of Jewish vocational schools. Since the break, World ORT has started offering its own services in Israel apart from ORT Israel.
In his decision, Haifa District Court Judge Gideon Ginat said he regretted that the two parties could not resolve their dispute outside of court and wondered whether donors to the two ORTs were aware that their money was being spent on court battles.
“There can be no doubt that the efforts and resources dedicated to conducting the legal proceedings should have been directed to the continued blessed operations of ORT in the fields of education and society,” the judge wrote in his decision. “I am not certain that the donors of ORT receive a reporting of the present legal activity and of the use made for this purpose in the donated money.”