Friday, February 24, 2006

The Israeli Registrar of NPAs drops accusations against WAC

Thanks to the campaign in Israel and international trade union support, the Israeli state has abandoned its attack on the Workers' Advice Center.

We are happy to inform you that thanks to your help and that of many other supporters, and thanks also to the concrete evidence of our work, the Registrar of Non-Profit Associations in Israel has decided to cancel the accusations against WAC-MAAN.

Official notice of this decision was recently given to WAC’s representatives. It is the result of a meeting that took place in January 2006 between WAC, Attorney Ophir Katz representing it, and the Registrar, Attorney Yaron Kedar.

The Registrar’s new decision cancels, in effect, all accusations concerning impropriety in the relationship between WAC and the political party Da’am - ODA. It overturns a ruling from October 2004, which some of you received in the form of a letter from the Ministry of Justice dated October 2005. This ruling ordered the dismantling of WAC on the grounds that it doesn’t operate toward its stated goals, but rather serves as a front for transferring funds to the ODA Political Party.

The Registrar's new decision cancels altogether the eight points concerning improper relationships between WAC and ODA. Furthermore, in his meeting with WAC, the Registrar pointedly complimented WAC, saying, "Nobody wants to stop you from doing your positive work."

Against this background, WAC has reached an arrangement with the Registrar, according to which, during the next few months, an accountant, agreed on by both WAC and the Registrar, will check its books. (See excerpts from the letter of Ophir Katz below.)

WAC sees here the end of a McCarthy-like persecution which began in 2001 at the instigation of the previous Registrar, Amiram Boget, who is known as an extreme right-winger.

We wish to thank you for the support and the solidarity you have shown. We know with certainty that the public backing we received, in Israel and abroad, from labor unions, workers’ organizations, non-profit associations, and many private individuals, both Arab and Jewish, helped to convince the Registrar how important WAC’s work is, creating a positive atmosphere that was vital in bringing matters to a good conclusion.

In order to clarify the legal aspects of the affair, we publish excerpts from the opinion written by WAC’s attorney, Ophir Katz, on February 14, 2006:

1. As will be recalled, the Registrar of NPAs decided, as a sequel to an investigation carried out at the order of his predecessor, to include the NPA in the framework of a “recovery plan” and to appoint an external auditor, putting in his hands complete authority with regard to financial transactions by the NPA, or in other words, the power to determine how the NPA would be managed.

2. The Registrar’s stand had its origin in the finding of an investigator, a finding rejected by the NPA, according to which the NPA does not fulfill its purposes, among other things in the light of his determination that the NPA busies itself in fact with support for a political party.

3. In the Registrar’s decision (from October 2004) a sanction was even established, in case the NPA refused to accept the demand for a “recovery plan” and the additional demands. The sanction was dismantlement of the NPA.

4. The NPA rejected most of the “findings” and the mistaken conclusions that were included in the said report. It announced to the Registrar of NPAs that it does not accept his determinations. The NPA also claimed that it performs only work that is true to its goals and that it refuses to be included within the framework of such a plan, in the light of the fact that its affairs are suitably administered. The NPA also claimed that under the circumstances, the Registrar of NPAs had no pretext for submitting a request to dismantle the NPA.

5. The NPA also announced that it would be happy to cooperate with the Registrar of NPAs and to receive professional help in order to improve the administration of the NPA, if it should be found that there is a need for this.

6. After lengthy discussion and deliberation between the NPA and the office of the Registrar of NPAs, and after heavy public pressure by people and organizations that are acquainted with the NPA’s work and hold it close to their hearts, the Registrar accepted, in fact, the position of the NPA, according to which there is no ground to appoint an external auditor and no ground for his demand to prepare a “recovery plan” for the NPA.

7. In an agreement between the Registrar for NPAs and the NPA, it was determined that no “recovery plan” would be set up for the NPA and no external auditor would be appointed for it. The NPA abides by its position, according to which it is ready to cooperate with the Registrar and to receive professional help from him. Accordingly, it was agreed by both sides that an accountant, whose identity would be approved in advance by the NPA, would prepare, together with the NPA, a work plan for accompanying the NPA during a limited time in order to improve its procedures and activities, if it be found that there is need for this.

8. This arrangement, whose implementation began in February 2006, accords with the position of the NPA and is agreed to by the Registrar of NPAs. This brings to an end, by agreement, the dispute between the Registrar and the NPA.

This concludes the remarks of Attorney Ophir Katz.

We thank you again for your persistent support and look forward to continuing our work, free of baseless accusations.

Assaf Adiv WAC Director
Roni Ben Efrat – International Relations


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