Millions in Stolen Money Behind Return of ‘Lost Tribes’ to Israel, Lawsuit Alleges

An Israeli organization known worldwide for its work with members of so-called “lost tribes” has been hit with a multimillion dollar lawsuit.

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The 50-million-shekel lawsuit, filed in Tel Aviv District Court on Wednesday, claims that Shavei Israel has been the beneficiary of stolen funds since its establishment 15 years ago.

The organization, which engages in outreach to emerging Jewish communities around the world, was founded in 2004 by U.S.-born Michael Freund, a former communications adviser to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

The suit was filed by his estranged wife, Sarah Freund. (The couple is in the midst of divorce proceedings.)

In the suit, Sarah Freund contends that her estranged husband transferred a total of 50 million shekels ($14 million) to the organization over the years, as well as to individuals and groups connected to it, without her consent and knowledge.