American, British tycoons donate to Netanyahu, Sa’ar campaigns

Netanyahu defense donor helps his Likud race

netanyahu  saar more plotting 248 88 ap (photo credit: Ariel Jerozolimski)
netanyahu saar more plotting 248 88 ap
(photo credit: Ariel Jerozolimski)
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and his challenger in Thursday’s Likud leadership race, MK Gideon Sa’ar, each received hundreds of thousands of shekels in campaign contributions from American and British millionaires, the State Comptroller’s Office website revealed on Sunday.
The Knesset passed a law last year preventing Knesset candidates from raising money from private donations and instead providing public funds for primaries. But the law does not apply to races for the leadership of a party.
Michigan real estate developer Spencer Partrich, who has donated millions of dollars to Netanyahu’s legal defense, gave the prime minister the maximum contribution of $12,000, as did two relatives.
Netanyahu also received large donation from Cherna Moskowitz, who together with her late husband Irving have supported many right-wing causes in Israel, and from several members of the Falic family, who own the Duty Free America chain, which operates over 180 stores at airports and border crossings in the US and Latin America, and are major contributors to the Friends of the IDF.
Other names that stand out on the list of donors to Netanyahu’s campaign include British real estate magnate Zak Gertler, who recently financed the prime minister’s 70th birthday party, and Jay Zises, a New York-based investment and financial manager who served on the board of Yeshiva University.
Sa’ar has donors from New York, New Jersey, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Oakland and Miami. One name that stands out on the list is Dr. Gabi Picker, a former close friend of Netanyahu and his family.
There is also Albert Dadon, a Melbourne, Australia businessman who founded the International Institute for Strategic Leadership Dialogue. The institute held its gala dinner at the King David Hotel in Jerusalem last week. Sa’ar took time out from the campaign trail to be the event’s keynote speaker.
Sander Gerber, the chief executive officer of the Hudson Bay Capital multi-billion-dollar hedge fund, gave Sa’ar the maximum donation. Gerber championed laws passed in the US and Israel withholding funds from the Palestinian Authority that were used to fund terrorists and their families.
A surprising name on the list is Mohammad Darawshe, who is a Likud member and gave Sa’ar’s campaign NIS 10,000. It is not the same Mohammad Darawshe who was the campaign manager for the Joint List.
Only some 200 people attended a rally for Netanyahu in Jerusalem on Sunday night, but he told the crowd: “I see the victory with my eyes and feel it in my legs.”
MKs at the event said Netanyahu does not support holding primaries for the Likud list and a party court’s decision from last week that primaries must be held will be canceled on Monday.
Meanwhile, the Meretz convention approved canceling the party’s primaries on Sunday. Party leader Nitzan Horowtiz called on Labor leader Amir Peretz and Democratic Union MKs Stav Shaffir and Yair Golan to run with Meretz in the March 2 race.