Skip To Content
Breaking News

N.Y. Times: Tax-Exempt Gifts Bolster Settlements

Read the Forward’s related coverage here and here.

Tax-exempt donations from the United States have helped Jews to strengthen West Bank settlements, preventing the creation of a Palestinian state, The New York Times reported.

As the U.S. government is working to bring about an end to Jewish settlements and build a Palestinian state in the West Bank, U.S. Treasury tax breaks have provided $200 million in tax-free funding to the settlements from American donors, the lengthy report published Tuesday in the Times reported.

The newspaper identified at least 40 American groups that have collected more than $200 million for Jewish settlements in the West Bank and eastern Jerusalem, according to the report. The money goes mostly to schools, synagogues, recreation centers and other similar places. But some has paid for housing, guard dogs, bulletproof vests, rifle scopes and other security equipment.

“It’s a problem,” a senior State Department official was quoted as saying, adding, “It’s unhelpful to the efforts that we’re trying to make.”

The New York Times report quoted Daniel Kurtzer, the U.S. ambassador to Israel from 2001 to 2005, as saying: “It drove us crazy.” But “it was a thing you didn’t talk about in polite company.”

Kurtzer added that “a couple of hundred million dollars makes a huge difference,” and if carefully focused, “creates a new reality on the ground.”

American tax law is more lenient than Israel’s in some areas, according to the report, which pointed out that Israel ended tax breaks for contributions devoted exclusively to settlement-building a decade ago, and that it is illegal for outposts, as opposed to established settlements, to receive tax-deductible donations.

Americans also take tax breaks in giving to pro-Palestinian groups, the report pointed out. But giving to settlements is different since the U.S. government does not allow its aid to go to them.

A message from our editor-in-chief Jodi Rudoren

We're building on 127 years of independent journalism to help you develop deeper connections to what it means to be Jewish today.

With so much at stake for the Jewish people right now — war, rising antisemitism, a high-stakes U.S. presidential election — American Jews depend on the Forward's perspective, integrity and courage.

—  Jodi Rudoren, Editor-in-Chief 

Join our mission to tell the Jewish story fully and fairly.

Republish This Story

Please read before republishing

We’re happy to make this story available to republish for free, unless it originated with JTA, Haaretz or another publication (as indicated on the article) and as long as you follow our guidelines. You must credit the Forward, retain our pixel and preserve our canonical link in Google search.  See our full guidelines for more information, and this guide for detail about canonical URLs.

To republish, copy the HTML by clicking on the yellow button to the right; it includes our tracking pixel, all paragraph styles and hyperlinks, the author byline and credit to the Forward. It does not include images; to avoid copyright violations, you must add them manually, following our guidelines. Please email us at [email protected], subject line “republish,” with any questions or to let us know what stories you’re picking up.

We don't support Internet Explorer

Please use Chrome, Safari, Firefox, or Edge to view this site.