How Sylvan Adams is putting his money in Israel’s future

#33: Sylvan Adams

Sylvan Adams (photo credit: ICA)
Sylvan Adams
(photo credit: ICA)
What do the following all have in common? The Spacex Beresheet moon rocket, the Giro d’Italia global cycling competition held in Israel, Madonna’s performance at this year’s Eurovision Song Contest in Tel Aviv and Team Israel’s stunning, come-from-left-field entry to the 2020 Olympics in baseball?
They wouldn’t have taken place without the involvement of Sylvan Adams, the Canadian-Israeli philanthropist working full-time to promote Israel’s image around the world.
“They all demonstrate Israel’s capabilities and best aspects to the world, and at the same time engender national pride,” explained Adams about why he’s spread his resources around with such willingness.
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Wiry and fit, of course, with a natural curiosity and boyish enthusiasm, the 60-year-old Adams made his fortune in real estate in his native Quebec as president and CEO of Iberville Developments, one of Canada’s largest real-estate development companies, founded by his father, Marcel, one of Canada’s most successful real estate developers.
A relatively recent immigrant to Israel after making aliyah with his wife, Margaret, in 2015, the “self-appointed Ambassador at large, for Israel” – as his business cards proclaim – is adamant that his “big” approach to putting the spotlight on his adopted country is the most effective way to win it new friends.
“When we made aliyah, I decided that I’m going to devote the next chapter of my life to promoting Israel,” said Adams, who funds some 25 educational, cultural and health projects throughout the country, including a children’s hospital at the Wolfson Medical Center and a new emergency room at Ichilov Hospital, as well as a sports institute to train Olympic hopefuls at Tel Aviv University, where he received an honorary doctorate this year.
“And I believe that doing these types of events is speaking to a massive majority out there in the world who don’t have a dog in the fight. They’re not political, but they generally have a negative impression of this country, due to the steady drumbeat of negative news coming from here.”
Using his wealth to influence public opinion about Israel and to provide solutions to some of the country’s health and educational needs won’t be the last chapter of Adam’s book, but so far, it’s the best one.