Thank You, Sheldon and Miriam Adelson
The great Jewish religious leader, Hillel, one of the most important figures in Jewish history, said: “If I am not for myself, who will be for me? And when I am for myself, what am ‘I’? And if not now, when?”
Jewish philanthropists Sheldon & Miriam Adelson are the very definition of which Hillel spoke – acting and taking care of the people of Israel. While anyone searching Google will see many negative articles about Adelson, I haven’t found one Google result originating from a Jewish organization representative saying “Thank You, Sheldon Adelson.” And thanks are truly due to the Adelsons- for their significant financial support of Newt Gingrich, and as reported today, assuring Mitt Romney that even more generous support will be provided to him, if he becomes the Republican nominee.
A longtime friend of Adelson, Fred Zeidman, said that no matter who the Republican nominee will be, Adelson “…would devote his energy and money to the overriding issue, which is beating Barack Obama.” Gingrich himself said “Look, Sheldon’s primary driving force is the survival of the United States and Israel in the face of an Iranian nuclear weapon. And compared to Barack Obama, virtually anybody is a better candidate.” Jews anywhere in the world should rejoice at this example of simple consideration of what’s good for Jews and America – and that’s the way we should vote. Thank You, Sheldon Adelson.
As arguably the richest Jew in the world, Adelson has already made a tremendous impact in many aspects of the Jewish world for which he deserves our thanks:
- He’s given $100 Million to Birthright Israel, which has brought 250,000 young American Jews to visit Israel – the goal of the organization is simply to strengthen Jews’ connections to Jewish history, culture and the Land of Israel.
- His newspaper, Israel Hayom, has become the number one daily newspaper in Israel, after only four years. The Israeli media is dominated by ultra-liberal interests – and just as Fox leveled the playing field amongst the media in the United States, so, too, has Israel Hayom done so in the Holy Land. Supposedly, Adelson invested $180 million into this venture, and as Michael Steinhardt, another major philanthropist said: “These things are not done to make money. They’re done because Sheldon’s an ideologue—he really cares about things that are of the spirit and not of the pocketbook.”
- He has donated twenty-five million dollars to Yad Vashem, the Holocaust memorial, the largest donation from a private donor in its history.
- Reportedly, Adelson’s foundation gives more than two-hundred-million dollars annually to Jewish causes.
- He donates to the Zionist Organization of America (ZOA), the oldest and one of the largest pro-Israel groups in the U.S.
The son of Jewish immigrants, Adelson grew up lower-class, dropped out of the City College of New York, and transitioned to the Republican party for a fairly simple reason: As his wealth increased; he asked, “Why is it fair that I should be paying a higher percentage of taxes than anyone else?” His father always wanted to visit Israel but was too poor to afford to travel there – so on Adelson’s first trip, he wore his father’s shoes when he got off the plane. Simple and admirable.
Leave it to a Las Vegas mogul to speak the “unspeakable.” At a formal dinner attended by more than 100 senior officials of various Israeli and Jewish organizations, guests were offered the opportunity to discuss what they considered the biggest challenge facing the Jewish people. Adelson reportedly said “I think Jews should have lots of sex. That is the solution to our demographic problem.”
My mother, who was born in a DP camp to Holocaust survivors, always saw the world through the prism of, “is it good for the Jews?” In a world where so many Jewish organizations write research paper after research paper, Adelson is truly a breath of fresh air in his simple yet admirable viewpoint of giving to candidates and causes that are good for the Jews. The Jewish world would truly be a better place if more Jews considered these things – in charity, in politics and in life.
Now, of course, many from within and outside the Jewish community will attack Mr. and Mrs. Adelson (and me for writing this piece) but it needs to be said. We must never forget that only 80 years ago the whole world stood by as six million Jews were slaughtered. Many pontificated and wrote documents. Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu has described Iran as the greatest threat that Israel has ever faced: “Iran is seeking to obtain a nuclear weapon and constitutes the gravest threat to our existence since the War of Independence.” And of course, Adelson has been clear – “I really don’t care what happens to Iran. I am for Israel.”
It’s simple, straight and clear. And the Jewish community – in fact, the entire Western World needs to say “Thank You, Sheldon Adelson. Thank You, Miriam Adelson.”