ISRAEL: Decades Long Alleged Corruption at the Rabinowitz & Gesher Film Funds

Categorized as Alleged Conflict of Interest, Alleged Financial Misconduct, Community Posts

Giora Eini, Eti Cohen, Moshe Edery & others.

Following our report on the revolving doors at the Israeli Film Fund, where a significant portion, if not the majority, of feature film financing is allocated to a small group of individuals affiliated with the fund, either as script readers or in other capacities, we have been approached by Israeli filmmakers who have shared further details with us, especially concerning Israel’s largest film fund, The Rabinovich Foundation for the Arts, and the smaller Gesher Fund, depicting the Israeli film industry as allegedly being highly corrupt, insular, and monopolistic.

The following information was provided by highly knowledgeable members of the Israeli Film industry, readers, as well as public information. All sources are provided below. The claims below are alleged in that they were not proven in court, but were reported by different knowledgeable sources and are considered “public knowledge” in the local industry.

Film Industry Watch encourages our readers to not cooperate or partner with bodies or individuals involved in unethical practices. Please use this report as a blueprint for reporting corruption or conflict of interests in your own countries and contact us with such information. This article is also meant to be used for further academic study, and as an example for the type of academic research that we’re interested to promote. Please visit our scholarships page for more details.

Alleged Corruption at the Rabinovich Film Fund

Since 1995 the Rabinovich film fund has been led by Giora Eini, an individual with significant connections who has maintained close relationships with the late Israeli Prime Ministers Yitzhak Rabin and Shimon Peres. The following report details accusations of alleged corruption and conflicts of interest in various forms.

For background and context, Israel has established multiple film funds with the intention of them to compete with one another. Each year the Israeli Film Council, a governmental body, decides how much funding each fund will receive, based on different criteria, decided by the Council.

In addition, over the years, Giora Eini has employed the leading film journalists in Israel—Yair Raveh, Erez Dvorah, Ron Fogel, and others—as reader and employees in the fund so they would allegedly & seemingly protect and promote him, the fund, and the films it financed, and never expose to the public the information contained in this page. Eini, a lawyer and politician, is known to have allegedly told Katriel Schory (former head of the other Israeli film fund), “You care about the industry, I only care about the money,” and that he couldn’t care less about the film industry itself or film as an art. What interests him is “winning” in the game that he plays, regardless of whether it’s a film fund or shoe manufacturing. As it is well known, one allegedly rotten apple is enough to corrupt and destroy an entire system; the allegedly rotten apple infects everything around it, with allegedly destructive results and nearly impossible to escape the grip of someone who apparently (allegedly) values power and personal and professional benefit as his highest and only value. An example of alleged control over key people and roles in the system through the creation of alleged conflict of interest and economic dependency is Adar Shafran, head of the Israeli Producers Union. On one hand, Shafran received repeated financing from the Rabinowitz Fund as a producer, and later from the Israeli Film Fund as a director (which he was not qualified in). Simultaneously, Shafran is supposed to represent the producers and the interests of the entire industry before those exact entities—a situation that allegedly resembles the operation of a banana republic, where all role holders act in unison to allegedly preserve the allegedly corrupt system and their personal power, by each protecting the other’s power and status. As these lines are being written, it has just been announced that Moshe Edri, a close friend to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s family, will be this year’s Israel Prize laureate for the Lifetime Achievement Award. This decision should surprise no one, as those involved in alleged corruption are always busy distributing roles, money, and awards among themselves in a cyclical manner. Because Eini apparently also allegedly controls the journalists themselves, as well as allegedly the heads of the unions, and the members of the Film Council, and anyone who could threaten his long-held alleged control over budgets of hundreds of millions of shekels, it is upon the Israeli film industry members themselves to spread the information on this page and demand a change in the identity of the heads of the film funds, and to establish that the identity of the heads of the funds should be legally fixed in advance for a limited time of no more than two to three years.

The accusation of alleged corruption were made in the following areas:

  1. Alleged Revolving doors between the The Rabinovich Fund and members of the Israeli Film Council.

    These alleged conflicts of interest, spanning years, were orchestrating economic and business dependence with council members in order to promote votes that benefited the fund, as well as the Gesher fund, over the other funds. These include:

    • 2 Film Council members received funding from the Rabinovich fund for films or a TV series that they created while in office.
    • 3 Film Council members worked and were paid by the Rabinovich fund for initiatives while in office.
    • 6 Film Council members took part in films that received funding from the Rabinovich film fund while in office.
    • 1 Film Council members was employed as a reader by the Rabinovich Fund after her term in office.

      Additional and detailed information regarding these allegations are further detailed below, in a separate section.

  2. Alleged Revolving Doors policy between project readers who were employed by the funds, who also received funding for their projects (full article here.)

    • 20 reader received funding for films close to the time of their employment by the funds.
    • 9 readers received funding for films at the same time they were were employed by the funds.
    • 1 reader served as a script consultant, while employed by the fund, while the project was funded.
    • 7 filmmakers who were writers or directors in films that they presented in Israeli film festivals, while simultaneously serving as jury members in the same festivals.
    • 1 writer / director was employed at a festival while it was selected to be screened in the same festival.

  3. Alleged use of insider information:

    Inside information from within the Ministry of Culture which was passed to the CEO of the fund, Giora Eini, by the former head of the Israeli Film Council, Eti Cohen, along with Cohen’s alleged intervention and support of the fund, in all processes at the Film Council, with a very sophisticated concealment over the years. This is in conjunction to an alleged romantic relationship between the two. This includes continuous promotion of legislative changes in favour of the fund, over many years.

  4. Alleged or suspected “falsification of corporate documents” (רישום כוזב במסמכי תאגיד):

    A criminal offense, where the fund had registered income and expenses in identical amounts, over several years, in order to create a false representation of the fund’s activity and increase it’s income artificially, so it would justify receiving more funding the following year.

    The funds were received by UnitedKing film, a long time partner of the fund which is owned by Moshe Edery, as detailed below, as well as from the ‘Israeli Association of Filmmaking.’

  5. Alleged Participation of the fund’s Artistic Director or CEO of the fund, against the rules, as readers in the project evaluation committees and in the appeal stages:

    On behalf of the Rabinovitch Foundation, Yoav Abramovich was present in 26 applications, Giora Eini in 4 applications and Nachman Ingeber in 4 applications. According to the reports of the Rabinovitz Foundation in the years 2013-2021, the names of Yoav Abramovich and Nachman Ingeber were not listed as directors of the foundation. That is, the report submitted to the Film Council do not match the report submitted on the foundation’s website.

  6. Accusation of an alleged monopoly in film production and distribution, with financing coming from the Israeli tax payer:

    Moshe Edery – one of the senior leaders of the Israeli film industry, together with his brother, Leon, purchased theaters throughout the country and founded the “UnitedKing” company, which today distributes many Israeli and international films. In the early 2000s they founded the “Cinema City” chain, the largest cinema chain in Israel. In other words – Moshe Edery is a producer, distributor, and also owner of the largest cinema chain in Israel, a monopoly in film production, distribution and exhibition of films, which is financed, to a large extent, by the Israeli film funds, in the form of production financing given to films he is involved with as a producer and distributers:


    • In the years 2015-2021, the two major funds invested – The Rabinowitz Fund, and the Israeli Film Fund, invested an aggregate amount of NIS 261,347,115 (66,071,422 Euros) in the production of feature films.

      Out of these amounts, in total, Moshe Edry (as a producer) received from the two funds a sum of 26,376,655 Euro for 85 films he produced, which constitute 35% of the funds’ total investments. From the 85 films which were produced by Edry, 68 (78%) were supported by the Rabinovitch Fund, and the rest (22%) were supported by the Israeli Film Fund.

    • A staggering 49% of all funds distributed by the Rabinovitch Foundation were given to films produced by Edry and distributed by United King.

      The funds’ investment amounts in films produced by Adri constitute a staggering 37% of the total investments in films in those years. In other words, 37% of the total amount invested in film production by the Israeli film funds, went to films produced by this monopoly. Note that UnitedKing is the same company mentioned above in relation to the falsification of corporate documents (point 4 above.)

  7. Funding for films without readers scoring, alleged nepotism and alleged corruption:

    Funding of films in the years 2012-2016: 464 films were approved for support by the funds. 99 of the films received support from the funds without any feedback from readers, which make up 21% of all supported films. The Adri brothers were involved in the production of 24 films out of the 99 (67% of those 24 films were supported by the Rabinovich Foundation.)

    In addition, about 5% of the project applications that were submitted, and that received general negative or moderate feedback, received support from the funds despite their low scores.
    • Against “good practice”, the Artistic Directors were present or employed as project readers for the funds: at the Gesher Fund, the Artistic Director or CEO were present or employed in approximately 72% of the funded applications. At the Rabinovich Foundation, the Artistic Director or CEO were present or employed in about 45% of the funded applications.

      This is done so the CEO or Artistic Director can influence the work of the so called “independent” readers, who are themselves, as we’ve shown, were compromised. This influence is important as it allows the CEO or Artistic directors to divert the funding to projects that they favors for personal reasons, rather than for artistic merit.

    • During the years 2012-2016, the Rabinovich Fund and the Gesher Fund were the only funds in which script readers appeared both in the original committee to examine the applications and in the appeal stage. According to our sources, when projects that Giora Eini wanted to support were not supported by the script readers, and did not receive a high enough average, the producers of those films, usually involving Moshe Edery, were asked to appeal, and then Giora Eini would approve funding for the projects himself.

      This “loop hole” was used for several years until it was discovered by the filmmakers community and new rules were put in place to prevent this abuse of power by the head of the fund.

  8. Eti Cohen – held the position of Director of the Film department at the Israeli Ministry of Culture 1999-2021 – which overseas the work of the Film Council

    Allegedly, Cohen thwarted the Council’s responsibility regarding the qualification of project readers by automatically accepting over 300 candidates without their examination, among them most of the recognized readers which were employed extensively by funds, as mentioned above. In addition she is accused of:
    • Acting to cancel or postpone meetings of the Film Council in order to promote the interests of her allies when there was not a majority of compromised members in the meetings.

    • Held Film Council meetings without the knowledge of the council’s chairman and while some employee or members were on forced leave. This was done to further the interests of the Rabinovitch and Gesher Foundations.

    • Consistent intervention in the meetings of the Film Council in favor of the Rabinovitch and Gesher Foundations.

    • Allegedly acted to deliberately omit her name from those present at the Cinema Council meetings, as it was against the rules, or in order to hide the fact that she was working to further the interests of these two funds.

    • Alleged suspected assistance to some incumbent film council members to get various positions at film festivals or other roles, in order to later receive favors in promoting her agendas, which were to further the interests of the Rabinovitch and Gesher Foundations.

      The interference by Eti Cohen in the work of the Film Council parallels changes in the criteria influencing how funds were distributed to the various film funds in the years 2014 and 2019. These changes resulted in an increase of 9% and 29% in the funding allocated to the Rabinovitch film fund.

  9. Ziv Neve and the Gesher Fund:

    • Ziv Neve is a former documentary film director and producer who currently serves as CEO of the Gesher Fund for Multicultural Cinema. Dr. Daniel Trooper, the father of Hili Trooper, the Minister of Culture at the time, established the Gesher Foundation. According to the allegations, when Trooper was appointed as the Minister of Culture, Ziv Neve showed up at his office and “closed a deal” to favour the fund (which the minister’s father had established), and is considered a good friend of Minister Trooper.

    • In 2014 and 2019, when it was decided to change the criteria influencing how funds were distributed to the various film funds, the changes resulted in a significant increase in the total amount of support to the Gesher Fund, by 149% and 82% respectively. This was done on the account of the other funds.

    • In the Gesher Fund too, artistic consultants or the Artistic Director were present both during the project application stages themselves, and during the appeal stages, against the rules. On behalf of the Gesher Fund, Sharon Shamir was present six times.

    • Ziv Neve is considered a good friend of Eti Cohen, director of the Film Department at the Ministry of Culture and former director of the Israeli Film Council. According to our sources, every year, Neve, Eini and Cohen would allegedly meet at the Cannes Film Festival, and plan how the next year of Israeli cinema will look like. In other words, the head of the two funds, and the person responsible for the Israeli Film Council, which makes decisions relating to the financing of these two funds, would allegedly meet and conspire as to what projects or filmmakers or producers would receive financing the following year, and other such matters.

    • Neve managed to pass a ruling that supported film fund that specialize in projects by peripheral creators, a clause that was clearly created in order to support the Gesher Foundation, as it is the only fund dedicated to those types of projects. This was presented as a measure encouraging peripheral cinema but was designed to help Gesher Foundation for personal reasons.

    • Alleged claims that Neve employed serving Film Council members as project readers.

    • The different film funds are supposed to be completely separated from each other. However, Oren Reich, who worked both at the Yehuda and Samaria Fund, and as a consultant at the two regional funds in the south, also appeared on the Gesher Fund website as working for the fund. The Gesher Fund claims that it no longer has no connection to Judea and Samaria fund anymore, and has cut off their links with the two regional funds.

    • The Gesher Fund was caught publishing on their website that a certain individual severed as a reader on the fund, who in fact, he didn’t.

    • The Gesher Fund was a favorite of Limor Livnat during her tenure as Minister of Culture – Livnat transferred additional funding to the fund, from external budgets, on top of the funding allocated to the fund through the Film Council.

    • In 2014, a case was filed to the Israeli Supreme Court against Eini regarding a legislative amendment that passed in the Film Council without a proper hearing, an amendment that benefited Neve and Eini (the Rabinowitz and Gesher funds) , legislation that was discriminatory against the other funds. Despite the appeal to the Supreme Court, the amendment came into effect.

Alleged Revolving doors between the The Rabinovich Fund & Members of the Israeli Film Council:

The following is detailed information about the revolving doors between the film funds, and members of the Israeli Film Council, which is responsible for ongoing decisions relating to financing of the various Israeli film funds. These connections are a blatant conflict of interest and a form of institutional corruption. This is not a “bug”, but a feature of the Israeli film financing system. As you can see below, this did not happen once or twice but multiple times, with multiple council members:

  1. Two Film Council members who received funding from foundations for films/series they created while in office:

    • Yair Rave (יאיר רוה): Received support, while serving as a member of the Film Council, for a series he created called “Kathmandu” (2012) from the Gesher Foundation. In addition, he received support for the film “Sharon Amarni: Remember the Name” (2010) from the Rabinovitch Fund.

    • Arnon Zadok (ארנון צדוק): eeceived support for his film “Nika” (2010) from the Rabinovitch Foundation, while serving as a council member.
  2. Three Film Council members were paid by and employed by funds while in office:

    • Eve Divon (חוה דיבון): served as a mentor in the film incubator for ultra-Orthodox women in 2012 at the initiative of the Gesher Foundation, while serving as a council member.

    • Merlin Venig (מרלין וניג): served as a mentor and consultant in the film incubator for ultra-Orthodox women in 2012 at the initiative of the Gesher Foundation, while serving as a council member.

    • Rabbi Israel Galis (הרב ישראל גליס): served as a mentor and consultant in the film incubator for ultra-Orthodox women in 2012 at the initiative of the Gesher Foundation, while serving as a council member. In addition, was employed in a mentor in a similar incubator, mentoring Orthodox men.

  3. Six council members took part in films that received funding from foundations while in office:

    • Osnat Bukoptzer (אסנת בוקופצר): served as post-production producer and in PR for the film Baba John (2015) which received funding from the Rabinovitch Foundation and the Gesher Foundation, while serving as a member of the Film Council. In addition, she serves as the director of external relations for Rabinovitch Foundation since 2017.

    • Noam Shanhav (נועם שנהב): participated as an actress in the films “Portrait of Victory” (2021) and “The Winners [Euphoria]” (2021) which received financing from the Rabinovich Foundation, while serving as a council member.

    • Golan Azulai (גולן אזולאי): participated as an actor in the film “Barrenness” (2022) which received support from the Rabinovitch Fund, while serving as a council member.

    • Aryeh Cherner (אריה צ’רנר):

      • Participated as an actor in the film “Circles” (2014) which received support from the Israel Cinema Fund while serving as a council member.

      • Participated as an actor in the film “Paper Wedding” (2015) which received support from the Gesher Fund, the Makor Fund and the Israeli Cinema Fund, while serving as a council member.

      • Participated as an actor in the film “Capo in Jerusalem” (2015) which received support from the Jerusalem Development Authority Film Fund, the Cinema Fund and the Gesher Fund, while serving as a council member.

      • In addition, participated in the following films – “The Rooms of the House” (2016), “Foxtrot” (2016), “The Sins” (2016), “Makatub” (2017), “Lady Titi” (2018), “Voice Over” (2018), “Shakhim” (2019), while serving as a council member, films which were funded by the Rabinovitch Fund, Jerusalem Development Authority Film Fund, Israeli Film Fund, and the New Film and Television Fund, in various combinations.

    • Gabriel Amrani Gur (גבריאל עמרני גור): participated as an actor in “Get” (2014) and “The Journey of the Ring” which received support from the Israel Cinema Fund, while serving as a council member.

    • Irit Kaplan (עירית קפלן): participated in “A very quiet heart” (2016) and “Saving Neta” (2016) which received support from the Israel Film Fund, while serving as a council member.

    • Inbal Shuki (ענבל שוקי): Designed costumes and makeup in the following films: “Virgins” (2022), “Hummus Full Trailer” (2022) – films that received the support of the Israel Film Fund, “The Silence” (2022), “Monkey Garden” (2023) – films that received the support of the Rabinovitch Foundation, while serving as a council member.

  4. Ravital Belly Zimmering (רביטל בללי צימרינג) – a film council member who was employed as a project reader after her term in office.

Alleged Corruption at the Jerusalem & Haifa Film Festivals

In the cases below, filmmakers who participated in the production of certain films that were presented at the festivals, were simultaneously serving as jury members in the competition at the event:

  1. Jerusalem Film Festival: (while Noa Regev, currently the head of the Israeli Film Fund, was serving as the CEO of the festival. This goes to show how small and insular the Israeli film industry really is)

    • Neely Fleur (נילי פלר) – served in the jury of the international film competition in 2021 while two films she edited “Where is Anne Frank” and “The death of the cinema and of my father too” were screened at the festival and took part of the competition.

    • Hilla Medalia (הילה מדליה): served as jury in the Israeli short film category in 2021 while a film she produced called “Why did I say – back to the Hanit Kikos case” was screened at the festival.

    • Shay Goldman (שי גולדמן) served as jury in the international film competition in 2021, while the film “Here We Are”, which he worked on as a Director of Photography, was screened at the festival.

    • In addition, Ety Itsco (אתי ציקו) presented a short film in the festival (“Rousseau” in 2021) while working at the festival as “Head of Guests & Hospitality”. Ashe was employed starting in 2014 at the Jerusalem Festival.


  2. The Haifa Film Festival:

    • Dror More (דרור מורה) – served as jury in an Israeli documentary film competition in 2022 while his film “Corridors of Power” was screened at the festival.

    • Saar Yogev (סער יוגב) – served as a jury in an Israeli feature film competition in 2021 while a film he produced called “Petah Tikva” was screened at the festival.

    • Einat Glazer Zarchin (עינת גלזר זרחין) – served as a jury in the “Golden Anchor” competition while a film she edited called “Plan A” was screened at the festival.

Supporting information and sources:

The original report was prepared in Hebrew and is available below. It includes 163 footnotes and links to sources and further information. More sources, links and screenshots are provided in the Hebrew version of this article.


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