Sheldon Adelson speaks during an inteview.
(photo credit: REUTERS/TYRONE SIU)
Sheldon Adelson has made the biggest donation to Birthright in its history and given the organization $70 million on the occasion of the 70th anniversary of the establishment of the State of Israel.
Adelson and his wife Dr. Miriam Adelson have provided massive financial support to the Birthright program, which brings young Jewish adults from the Jewish world to Israel on free educational trips, and now amounts to $410m.
The donation was made at Birthright’s annual gala dinner where a total of $125m. was raised, including the Adelsons’ gift, and donations from businessman and former New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg who gave $2m. on the night, and another 650 private donors.
Birthright said that it would now be able to break its record number of visits by Jewish youth to Israel and reach 50,000 participants in the coming year. The organization has brought some 600,000 young Jewish adults from 66 countries to Israel since it was founded in 1999.
“Before the founding of the State of Israel, my father told me that he always dreamed about a state for Jews and wanted to go to the Land of Israel, but when the time came and I could help him get there he said he was too old and too ill,” Adelson said during his speech at the event.
“I think it is the right from birth of all Jews to go to Israel and I don’t want any young Jewish person in the world say that he is too old or sick to visit Israel.”
At the end of the event, Birthright founders Charles Bronfman and Michael Steinhardt presented the Adelsons with Birthright’s “Guardians of the Jewish Future” award for their generosity to the project.