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Thursday, January 1, 17:00 Israel time
Tamar Uriel-Beeri, managing editor of Jpost.com, interviews Sir Frank Lowy, Australian-Israeli businessman and philanthropist, to discuss his life, philanthropic philosophy, and his recent donation of $18 million (NIS 65 million) to Tel Aviv University (TAU), expanding the activities of its International School, which has been renamed the Lowy International School in Memory of Shirley Lowy, his wife who passed away in 2020.
Lowy was born in 1930 in Czechoslovakia, moved to Israel in 1946, and fought in Israel’s War of Independence in 1948. In 1952, he moved to Australia and founded Westfield Development Corporation, the commercial real estate company and shopping mall operator. Lowy moved back to Israel at the end of 2018.
Comparing the land of Israel of 1946 to Israel of today, Lowy tells Uriel-Beeri, “When I first arrived, 600,000 Jews were living here. Today we have more than seven million Jews living in Israel. With that, great changes have occurred here, mostly for the better. Nothing is perfect in life, neither in Israel, nor anywhere else in the world.”
For Lowy, his return to Israel has been a rebirth of sorts, and he mentions three significant events, or ‘births’ – his actual birth in 1930 in Czechoslovakia, his first move to Palestine in 1946, and his return to Israel several years ago.
Lowy’s major gift to Tel Aviv University’s International School, he explains, is intended to make the school an umbrella for all of TAU’s international students, equip students to discuss issues that concern Israel and the Jewish world, and ensure that they become ambassadors for the university and the State of Israel.
He explains that the renaming of the International School after his wife Shirley is intended to honor her memory and her two dreams that she was able to realize during her lifetime – studying and receiving a university degree, which she accomplished in her 40s, and moving to Israel, which she achieved in 2018.
Summarizing his philanthropic philosophy, Lowy tells Uriel-Beeri, “Growing up, my family had modest means, but still gave charity. I learned from my parents that when you have a little, give a little – and when you have a lot, give a lot. That is my guidance.”