Diaspora donors play key role in Israel's Labor race

The list of contributors to the campaign of incumbent Labor leader Isaac Herzog reads like a who’s who in the American and British Jewish communities.

June 25, 2017 17:58
2 minute read.
Isaac Herzog

Isaac Herzog. (photo credit: MARC ISRAEL SELLEM)


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Donors who live in the United States and United Kingdom have contributed substantial sums to the candidates in the July 4 Labor leadership race, according to information retrieved from State Comptroller Joseph Shapira’s office by The Jerusalem Post on Sunday.

The list of contributors to the campaign of incumbent Labor leader Isaac Herzog reads like a who’s who in the American and British Jewish communities.

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Herzog has raised more than one million shekels for his campaign, mostly from Diaspora Jews.

American philanthropists Danel Abraham, Jack Bendheim and Leon Black contributed $12,500, $12,000 and 12,000, respectively, to Herzog.

Former New Israel Fund president and San Francisco Jewish Federation executive director Brian Lurie gave Herzog $3,000. British Joint Israel Appeal president Trevor Chinn donated £9,615, while Jewish Leadership Council of the UK board of trustees chairman Mick Davis donated $12,000.

French businessman and former European Jewish Congress president Pierre Besnainou, who owns the Burger King franchise in Israel, donated NIS 40,000. One of the leaders of the Melbourne Jewish community, Albert Dadon, gave Herzog $10,000.

Cincinnati Jewish community leader Kim Heiman donated $12,500. Ruderman Family Foundation president Jay Ruderman contributed $5,000. Global business and communications strategist Zev Furst of New Jersey gave $3,000. Former American Jewish Committee president Robert Goodkind contributed $2,500.

Herzog received $5,000 from Canadian-American Birthright Israel co-founder Charles Bronfman, who also donated $5,000 to Herzog’s rival, MK Erel Margalit. Margalit, who is independently wealthy, has raised some NIS 400,000 for his campaign, including contributions from himself.

American Jewish Congress chairman Jack Rosen donated $2,500 to Margalit’s campaign.

New York hi-tech billionaire Seth Merrin, who is on Forbes list of America’s 400 richest people, gave Margalit $12,200, as did Arnold Hiatt, the president of the Stride Rite footwear company.

Jacques Toledano of Casablanca, Morocco, contributed $10,000 to MK Amir Peretz’s campaign. Most of Peretz’s donors live in Israel, but he also received contributions from France, New York and New Jersey, drafting NIS 582,363.

Bar-Lev raised more than NIS 350,000, mostly from Israelis but also from businessmen Perry Gershon, Michael Graff and Richard Feldman of New York.

Former environmental protection minister Avi Gabbay has raised NIS 769,400, entirely from residents of Israel.

Even Avner Ben-Zaken, a previously unknown Labor candidate, obtained a donation abroad: $10,000 from Allan D. Gordon of Santa Monica, California.

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