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Yad Vashem seeks to drop largest non-gov’t donor amid finance dispute

Donor claims Yad Vashem wants to raid endowment

Dani Dayan, Yad Vashem chairman at a book launch event at the Yad Vashem Holocaust Remembrance Center in Jerusalem, on January 19, 2023. Photo by Yonatan Sindel/Flash90

Yad Vashem, the World Holocaust Remembrance Center in Jerusalem, has chosen to terminate its association with the American Society for Yad Vashem (ASYV), its second-largest donor after the Israeli government, Israeli media reported.

Yad Vashem claimed in a letter that the move is part of a broader organizational realignment and efforts toward financial stabilization.

The ASYV accused Museum Chairman Dani Dayan of attempting to “raid” its finances and stated its desire to cease the affiliation, as well.

The museum complains that only $1 million of ASYV’s endowment fund of over $80 million is transferred each year.

Yad Vashem was expected to have a deficit of NIS 42.7 million (almost $11.2 million) by the end of the calendar year, and has told its more than 500 workers that many would be laid off or sent to retirement, some of whom will not be replaced, the Jerusalem Post reported.

“Yad Vashem Directorate approved Yad Vashem's new strategy of taking direct responsibility for all its activities worldwide here [in Jerusalem] directly from the Mount of Remembrance. We have done so in order to ensure that every dollar raised in the name of Yad Vashem is used for Yad Vashem programs and activities,” the museum said in a statement to the Jerusalem Post.

The ASYV responded to the museum’s decision, accusing Dayan of poor management.

“Since his appointment two years ago, Dayan has upended a productive 43-year partnership, attempting to raid an endowment built for the perpetual support of Yad Vashem and trample on the legal, fiduciary, and other responsibilities of the organization.”

Yad Vashem CEO Tzvika Fayirizen informed the ASYV that its endowment “should now be transferred to Yad Vashem” upon the end of the affiliation, as the donors had intended.

He also said that the ASYV “shall not use a name that contains the trademark ‘YAD VASHEM’ as of Jan. 1, 2024,” according to the Times of Israel.

The controversy comes shortly after reports that Israeli Education Minister Yoav Kisch plans to dismiss Dayan from his position and replace him with a political ally.

The All Israel News Staff is a team of journalists in Israel.

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