Bill Clinton’s $500,000 speaking fee for Israeli gala ignites controversy

( A controversy has arisen over the payment of a $500,000 fee to former U.S. President Bill Clinton to address a June 17 gala at the Peres Academic Center in Rehovot, Israel.

Bill Clinton in February 2013. Credit: U.S. Department of Labor.

An Israel Hayom investigation found that the Jewish National Fund (JNF), which is taking part in the event, gave the Peres Academic Center part of the money to cover Clinton’s fee, with the academic center covering the rest.

“This is an unnecessary waste of public funds by a supported body that receives aid from the state,” Israeli Internal Security Minister Yitzhak Aharonovich told Israel’s Channel 1 television network.

But a spokesperson for JNF said, “Clinton was invited by the Peres Academic Center, which signed the agreement and determined all the details and financial conditions a year ago. The event is not being funded by the public, but rather by the participants who contribute millions to Israel.”

Posted on June 2, 2013 .