Israeli Officials Barred from Programs of Epstein Patron’s Foundation

Aug 29, 2023 8:20 pm | Ticker, Virtual Jerusalem

Itamar Ben Gvir Bans Police and Civil Servants from Participating in the Wexner Leadership Program

National Security Minister Itamar Ben Gvir has decreed that police officers and other government employees are no longer allowed to participate in programs associated with the Wexner Foundation for Jewish leadership. This Ohio-based foundation is well-known for its program that sends Israeli civil servants to Harvard University to study policy. The man behind the fund, Victoria’s Secret tycoon and billionaire Les Wexner, was notoriously the main benefactor of convicted pedophile, Jeffrey Epstein, who in 2019 supposedly committed suicide in a Manhattan detention center. A Vanity Fair article, The Mogul and the Monster, details their deep and longstanding relationship, as did documentaries Filthy Rich and Victoria’s Secret: Angels and Demons on Epstein.

Ben Gvir’s decision, however, apparently nothing to do with Wexner’s patronage of Epstein, which included handing over his multi-million dollar Manhattan townhouse and other properties to the convicted pedophile and sex criminal, giving him power of attorney over his finances. The Minister was critical of the Foundation’s “radical left political affiliation and collaboration with distinctly left-wing groups such as Breaking the Silence,” known for sharing testimonies of Israeli soldiers concerning purported human rights infringements in Judea and Samaria. Ben Gvir said: “We are taking the police out of the Foundation’s activities. My policy is clear. Politics stays out of the force.”

The Wexner Foundation claims that it “develops and inspires leaders in the North American Jewish Community and the State of Israel.” It expresses a commitment to offering “promising professionals and volunteers tools to exercise transformative leadership.” The foundation has two major programs targeted at Israelis: the Wexner Israel Fellowship and the Wexner Senior Leaders program. Both provide an avenue for selected participants to pursue master’s degrees at Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government.

Ehud Barak was among many influential Israelis who received a Wexner Fellowship and attended Harvard. The former Defense Minister and Prime Minister, has admitted to meeting Epstein dozens of times. Barak notoriously was later filmed skulking near Epstein’s townhouse trying to conceal his identity. Barak admitted to visiting Epstein’s Island but claimed he never met any girls.”

The Wexner Foundation has been spotlighted by Israeli right-wing figures for introducing American progressive ideologies into top-tier Israeli bureaucratic and defense roles. In 2021, the Supreme Court discarded a petition by the rightist group, Im Tirtzu, which alleged that the scholarships from Wexner should be deemed illegal gifts, potentially allowing undue foreign influence. The left-wing court refuted this, suggesting that participants “gave up more than they received.” Their calculation was never explained.

Ben Gvir’s decision garnered applause from the right, some of whom urged Defense Minister Yoav Gallant to emulate the move to the Army. Likud lawmaker MK Tally Gotliv praised Ben Gvir on X (formerly Twitter) for his decision, deriding the Wexner Foundation as a “long arm of the deep state.”


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