Gill Rosenberg
Gill Rosenberg. (photo credit:BEN HARTMAN)


An Israeli-Canadian woman who went to Kurdistan last year to join the fight against ISIS and spent years in jail in the US for her part in a multi-million dollar scam, has returned to Iraq with a group that works to free children and women taken captive by the Islamic State, the Jerusalem Post learned Monday.

Steve Maman, the founder of the organization “Liberation of Christian and Yazidi Children of Iraq (CYCI)”, sent pictures to the Jerusalem Post on Monday of members of his group working in Kurdistan, including two separate pictures of Gill Rosenberg. In one picture she is helping fingerprint two children, and in another, she is shown posing with the children and a few other men, apparently members or associates of the group, as well as a Canadian named Sean Moore who told the Post he embedded with CYCI to cover some of their actions in the field recently.

Rosenberg, 31, made international news late last year when she traveled to Kurdistan in order to, in her words, fight ISIS alongside the Kurds and prevent genocide.

In an interview with the Jerusalem Post last month, a couple weeks after she returned to Israel, she said she planned to work for CYCI, which was just then getting off the ground and beginning to receive media attention. In mid-August, shortly after the interview, she posted a video of herself on Facebook saying that she was joining CYCI as a volunteer to raise awareness for the organization.

Rosenberg told the Post she was worried that her past – specifically the more than 4 years she spent in jail in the US for being part of a phone scam based in Israel that bilked American senior citizens out of more than $25 million – could potentially harm the organization’s reputation.

“This is the one thing that scares me, that people will say yeah right, this is fraudulent or a scam. I’m not concerned about harm coming to me, I just don’t want to damage the organization because they’re doing god’s work,” she said at the time.

Even without Rosenberg, since last week, Maman’s organization has been the subject of a media storm, after VICE published an article about a group of Yazidi spiritual leaders, politicians, activists and aid workers who have demanded that Maman provide evidence to his claims that he has rescued 128 Christian and Yazidi women and children from the Islamic State through brokers on the ground in Iraq and using ransom money, much of which he says he raised in the Montreal Sephardi community.

In the letter published by Vice News, the signatories say “it is imperative that any organization claiming to conduct such a high-level project, especially one that deals so visibly with such sensitive problems, recognize the need for accountability and open itself to the scrutiny of the leadership of the Yazidi community.”

The letter says Maman has “has brought a high level of visibility to a delicate and sensitive rescue effort that should have been kept low-profile”, adding “we are concerned that this may be reckless.”

Speaking to the Jerusalem Post on Sunday, Maman called the letter “a Mickey Mouse, Disneyworld document,” and questioned its validity, saying it wasn’t on any official letterhead. He also questioned whether or not the people on the list were actually legitimate representatives of the Yazidi people, and accused several of them of corruption and of trying to steal credit from CYCI.

Maman has also been accused of aiding ISIS by paying ransoms with money raised through his organization online – a claim he alternately disputes by saying he is “re-compensating” people for the sex slaves they bought, and that he never deals with ISIS and has no idea what his brokers do on the ground anyway.

Last week GoFundMe suspended the donation campaign of CYCI, which had raised hundreds of thousands of dollars, though Maman said Sunday they continue to receive money through donations to the group’s website.

As reported by The Jerusalem Post