Thursday, November 29, 2012 | return to: news & features, local


ZOA moves Western office to San Francisco after shutting L.A. branch

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The Zionist Organization of America is moving its Western regional operations to San Francisco after closing its Los Angeles office, the L.A. Jewish Journal reported last week.

The move comes after the head of the L.A. office was fired. Orit Arfa, who had referred to herself as a “whistleblower” in internal ZOA memos, was informed of her dismissal on Nov. 19, according to the Jewish Journal.

No reason for her termination was stated, but Arfa reportedly was critical of the organization — a pro-Israel advocacy group with chapters across the country — for not coming forward to announce the revocation of its tax-exempt status.

Arfa was fired one day after she addressed a crowd at a pro-Israel rally in Los Angeles that she helped organize, telling the crowd she was “proud” to work for the ZOA, the Jewish Journal reported.

In an internal memo to her bosses, Arfa opposed the organization’s decision not to make public its loss of tax-exempt status, according to the newspaper.

ZOA already had closed the Los Angeles office and required Arfa to work from home.

“The closure of the Los Angeles office is due to financial considerations and internal management issues related to coordination of personnel and fundraising,” the organization stated. “A major donor, who wishes to remain anonymous at this time, will fully fund the ZOA San Francisco office. Moving the ZOA office to San Francisco will save the organization over $100,000 per year.”

Arfa confirmed to the Forward that she had been fired but would not provide any details. David Drimer, ZOA’s executive director, told the Forward, “I consider this a private matter regarding a lawful [firing] and not retaliatory termination of an employee.”

In September, the Forward reported that ZOA had lost its tax-exempt status eight months earlier after failing to file financial disclosures for three consecutive years. The organization reportedly only informed large donors of the loss.

The ZOA canceled its high-profile annual fundraising dinner, which usually takes place in November or December.

Additionally, the Orange County chapter has voted to disband after its president and vice president resigned, the Jewish Journal reported. — jta & j. staff


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