Following last year’s appeal letter and several meetings with senior staff of the Ministry of Finance discussing the unlawful taxation of charitable gifts given by US donors to children’s hospitals in Israel, the Ministry placed a passport hold on the Chairman of RHIF. Below you can find the letter from RHIF’s attorney S Fridman, EsQ to Minister of Finance Yair Lapid calling him out on the intimidation of an NGO for whistle blowing.
August 23, 2014
Dear Minister Lapid,
I write on behalf of Robin Hood Israel Foundation, as a follow up to our letter of last year and discussions with your staff at that time.
It has come to light that your Ministry has placed a passport hold on both the Israeli and American passports of our Chairman. There has never been a notice of complaint by your Ministry, there has never been a Court hearing, there is not even a case docket on file. This is simply intimidation of an NGO for whistleblowing impropriety on the part of the Customs and Tax Authority going back decades via the unlawful demand of taxation from AngloAmerican charitable donations. Worse, your Ministry is not even addressing the matter at the Robin Hood Israel Foundation level, it is now targeting individuals associated with the organization on a personal basis.
Needless to say, withholding right to depart Israel is as serious a denial of human rights as can exist. To have perpetrated this offense against a citizen without valid basis -- indeed without personal relationship to the matters at all -- is further lack of adherence to the law and abuse of Ministerial authority. To have done all this, however -- without any Court involvement, without any complaint, without even notice to the citizen that the passport hold has been placed until his arrival at the airport to catch an outbound flight --violates every bureaucratic check and balance imaginable and is simply terrorizing and intimidating NGO staff into silence. Do not reply that you are busy running he government and this is all occurring at the bureaucratic level beneath your good office. Nonsense. You are responsible for your senior staff, including the Customs and Tax Authority.
Attorney S Fridman, EsQ