This was claimed by multiple sources, as an example

Is it not striking that the US grants charity status to organizations whose sole mission is to support the army of another country? Are there any other examples of US tax-exempt organizations providing financial and material support to foreign armies?

It mentions two organizations: Friends of the Israel Defense Forces and American Friends of LIBI. Is it true that these two organizations fund the military? If not, is the more general claim true?

  • Mohammad, please stop linking to right-wing extremist sites. Everyone: find a better reference if you don't like what you see. Stop complaining about things, fix them.
    – Sklivvz
    Mar 29 '17 at 7:56
  • @Sklivvz what's wrong with linking to right-wing extremist sites in a question? Jun 10 '18 at 4:43
  • We debated this to the death Andrew, you should know: we are not a propaganda machine for bad sites. If something is notable then by definition it should be out of that circle and into the mainstream.
    – Sklivvz
    Jun 10 '18 at 6:22

We can donate to Friends of the IDF which is a 501(c)(3) organization.

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See for example Friends of IDF Annual Gala Raises $24 Million

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu sent in a prerecorded greeting Tuesday night, and several IDF officers and soldiers shared their stories.
Also at the banquet was the head of IDF military intelligence, Maj. Gen. Hertzl Halevi

Another 501(c)(3) organization is American Friends of LIBI

The LIBI FUND helps the educational and medical needs of the soldiers of the Israel Defense Force...to implement projects not covered by the Army’s regular budget

Libi welcomes support for its projects from individuals, schools, synagogues, social committees and youth groups.

The funds for the above organizations do not go to weapons.

Synagogues, churches, temples and mosques can donate to 501(c)(3) organizations, so it is possible to indirectly donate to the above organizations through a synagogue.

  • 1
    Do you have a source that they actually fund the IDF? From their mission statement (see about us), it seems like they provide social programs for veterans, active soldiers, and the families of fallen soldiers. But it doesn't seem like they actually give any money to the IDF directly.
    – tim
    Mar 26 '17 at 19:25
  • 1
    The closest to actually funding the IDF that I could find is friends of LIBI, which calls itself "the official fund of the IDF" (I don't know if the claim is accurate). Donations seem to directly support the IDF - for example by contributing to field ambulances or rescue units - or to again support various social programs - such as providing education for soldiers, supporting the families of fallen soldiers, helping immigrants learn Hebrew, etc. Their revenue is considerably lower than that of friends of the IDF though.
    – tim
    Mar 26 '17 at 19:48
  • 1
    @tim They construct buildings that are part of IDF bases fidf.org/page.aspx?pid=1090 They don't buy weapons.
    – DavePhD
    Mar 27 '17 at 13:49
  • 1
    @DavePhD Seems like most organizations that support the IDF (with the exception of those specifically supporting the non-Jewish groups within the IDF), would mention Jews in a positive way, as the vast majority of IDF soldiers are Jewish. I find the whole premise of the question to be a little bit off, for that reason.. I suspect the Forward, in its analysis, automatically includes any pro-IDF charity as a "Jewish" charity.
    – ff524
    Mar 27 '17 at 19:37
  • 1
    Just a small note, those organization support the IDF and the Israeli Border Police which are Israel's gendarmerie and are part of the police force and not part of the IDF.
    – SIMEL
    Mar 27 '17 at 20:04

Currently, by Israeli law, the only "donations" (depends what you call a donation) the IDF can receive is via one of two organizations: Friends of the IDF and the Libi Fund (I couldn't find a link to the law itself, however this Ynet article in Hebrew mentions it).

By their own statements, both organizations provide "extras" which are meant to make IDF soldiers' life easier. This includes building Gyms in army bases, providing financial support to soldiers and veterans in need etc. There is no evidence (and I find it highly unlikely) that the two organizations donate cash, arms, or anything else that will be essential for the IDF to operate as an armed force. In other words, one may say that the donations go to soldiers in the IDF, not to the IDF itself.

According to a study done in 2013, more than 70% of American Jews with at least some degree of religion (i.e., probable visitors of synagogues) feel at least somewhat attached to Israel, so I think it possible to conclude that donating to one of the two IDF-related organizations happens in many of the synagogues in the USA.

So basically the answer to your question is depends: If you consider the donations to FIDF and Libi fund as a donation, then yes. If you're asking whether or not Synagogues donate directly to the IDF, the answer is no.

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