Don't Give to the Jewish National Fund

By Jeffrey Goldberg

Inevitably, the Jewish National Fund, which, among other things, plants forests in Israel, is asking for donations from Americans for its "Forest Fire Emergency Campaign," in response to the massive fire spreading across the Carmel mountains. But I'm not giving.

Israel's per capita GDP is nearly $30,000. Israel is a rich country. The fact that it doesn't possess adequate firefighting equipment is its own fault. The fact that the leadership of its fire service is incompetent is its own fault (you can read more about that here).  At some point, the good-hearted Diaspora Jews who still think of Israel as a charity case are going to have to tell their cousins to learn to fully-fund basic services like firefighting if they want to be thought of as citizens of an advanced country.

There are a great many good causes in Israel that deserve help, and a great many causes here in America that deserve our help. It seems to me, however, that Israel's national fire service should be funded by Israel's government, not by the people of Boca Raton, Potomac and the Upper West Side.

My sympathy is with the people who lost their lives, their families, and those still in danger. It is not with a government that appears to be negligent. And I'm not going to contribute funds that might serve to paper-over the government's inadequacies.

This article available online at:

http://www.theatlantic.com/international/archive/2010/12/dont-give-to-the-jewish-national-fund/67436/