Philanthropist David Dangoor: Understanding social tapestry benefits Israel

British philanthropist David Dangoor: ‘The more Israelis understand their social tapestry, the better the benefit for all of us and for Israel.’

 British philanthropist David Dangoor at the Jerusalem Post London Conference. (photo credit: MARC ISRAEL SELLEM)
British philanthropist David Dangoor at the Jerusalem Post London Conference.
(photo credit: MARC ISRAEL SELLEM)

In a one-on-one interview with Jerusalem Post correspondent Zvika Klein at the Jerusalem Post London Conference, prominent British businessman and philanthropist David Dangoor discussed his family’s origins, the concept of providing for others, and the importance of the Sephardic heritage.

Dangoor, who was born in Baghdad and spent his early years there, said, “It’s been a privilege to come from Iraq and be able to rebuild our lives here.”

He pointed out that people have a duty to help others if they can.

“My father always said that if we are able, we have a duty to give something back, and I think this is something Jewish people know how to do throughout the world.” People who do good, and countries who extend hospitality, he said, don’t want something back in exchange. “They want you to emulate their good work, and we’ve tried to learn from that.”

Klein noted that Dangoor is known for his ability to create bridges between different parts of society in the United Kingdom and the Jewish world. One point of interest for Dangoor has been appreciating and understanding the rich cultural heritage of Sephardi Jewry.

 Jerusalem Post Editor-in-Chief Yaakov Katz speaks at the Jerusalem Post London Conference (credit: MARC ISRAEL SELLEM) Jerusalem Post Editor-in-Chief Yaakov Katz speaks at the Jerusalem Post London Conference (credit: MARC ISRAEL SELLEM)

“My feeling,” said Dangoor, “is that cultural diversity and cognitive diversity enriches a nation, and the more Israelis understand the breadth of their social tapestry and the richness it brings to Israel, the better the benefit for all of us and for Israel.”

He discussed some of the connections that he has been making in different areas between Israel and the UK, including groundbreaking cancer research being jointly conducted by the Weizmann Institute of Science in Rehovot and Imperial College to help personalize cancer medications, his support of a program that sends 50 Imperial College scientists to Israel each year for research, and the Center for Universal Monotheism at Bar-Ilan University.

The world is interested in Israel, said Dangoor, not only for its science and innovation but for its cultural component.