An appeals court in Israel has ruled that both World ORT and ORT Israel may use their proper names, overruling a district court that in 2007 had ordered World ORT to use a different name to avoid confusion.
“Justice prevailed and our trust in the Israeli legal system paid off after all these years,” said Robert Singer, World ORT’s director general. “We got back our identity in Israel and no longer need to hide behind the name Kadima Mada (Science Journey). This ruling will help World ORT to help more Israelis who need our help, help us to bring more donors and communities to Israel, and help diaspora-Israel relations.”
ORT stands for organization for rehabilitation and training.
ORT Israel sued World ORT in March 2007 for the right to exclusive use of the ORT name in Israel. It broke away from its parent body six months earlier, complaining that it was receiving only about 15 percent of the money raised by World ORT even though it was the largest institution in the ORT Network with more than 90,000 students.
Zvi Peleg, director general of ORT Israel, said that although it had received more than $7 million a few years ago, World ORT but its allocation to less than $3 million at a time when World ORT was raising more than $20 million. He could not be reached for comment on the appeals court ruling.
Officials at World ORT have maintained, however, that the rift developed because ORT Israel refused to provide financial statements that clearly showed donors where their money was going; ORT Israel insisted that its financial records were “very transparent.”