The heiress of the Sears fortune has raised money for Prime Minister Ariel Sharon, and Binyamin Netanyahu has obtained donations for his campaign in the US.
But Likud leadership candidate MK Uzi Landau has now trumped his rivals by attracting the support of influential American millionaire Dr. Irving Moskowitz, who supported both Sharon and Netanyahu in the past and ended up disappointed. The Jerusalem Post has exclusively obtained Moskowitz's letter endorsing Landau.
"Uzi Landau would make security for Israeli citizens his first priority," said Moskowitz, who is the top supporter of right-wing causes in Israel. "At a time when it is commonplace, even expected, for leaders to disavow their own platforms and 'red lines,' Uzi Landau has consistently opposed Oslo, Hebron, Wye, the road map and the 'disengagement.' Which other leading candidate can say that?" Moskowitz, a 77-year-old Orthodox Jew from Miami Beach, first entered the news in 1996 when he provided the funding for the exit to the Western Wall tunnel. The opening led to three days of gun battles that left 15 IDF soldiers and dozens of Palestinians dead.
One year later, in September 1997, the first Jewish families moved into the Ras al-Amud house owned by Moskowitz just days after US secretary of state Madeleine Albright ended her visit to the Middle East by appealing to Netanyahu to take a "time out" from actions that provoke the Arabs. Moskowitz challenged Netanyahu in court then, and now he is challenging both Netanyahu and Sharon.
"Landau is against uprooting Jewish communities in Judea, Samaria and the Golan, and would put the security of [his country's] citizens before the interests of other nations, as all leaders in the world are expected to do," Moskowitz said.
"Thousands of rockets rained upon Gush Katif in the last years; Eighty of them fell on a Shabbat when I was there this summer. There was zero response from the army. Uzi Landau would not tolerate that. The IDF under his leadership would be used solely to fight terrorism against Israeli citizens and would not be used to forcibly transfer Jews."
Moskowitz said he believes that Landau would overhaul what he called "the existing shameful political system" to minimize corruption. He said that "people who live in a real democracy" were shocked by what he called "the anti-democratic manipulation" of Sharon on the path to disengagement.
Reacting to criticism that Landau is not charismatic enough to get elected prime minister, Moskowitz said, "Neither [Yitzhak] Shamir, nor [Levi] Eshkol nor [Harry] Truman were charismatic, but they were leaders. Moses wasn't either and he asked Aaron to assume the role of communicator.
True leadership requires humility and compassion, as well as character and backbone. True leaders are concerned with long-term vision and national security, and not with sound bites and media spins."