Sheldon Adelson, Iconic Jewish Philanthropist and Political Donor, Dies at 87
Sheldon Adelson, a casino-resort billionaire who funded Jewish charities and political causes in both Israel and the United States, died on Monday night of non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma, at the age of 87.
The son of a Lithuanian Jewish immigrant, Adelson became one of the world’s richest men as the founder of the Las Vegas Sands Corporation, with an estimated net worth of $35.9 billion. He donated huge sums to causes like Birthright Israel, which finances trips to Israel for young Jews, the Yad Vashem Holocaust memorial in Jersualem, and medical research into cancer and other diseases.
He also spent heavily on politics, becoming one of the largest backers to President Donald Trump and the Republican Party in the US, and to Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. In 2007, he created the Israeli daily Israel Hayom, and also owned the Las Vegas Review-Journal.
American and Israeli officials and Jewish leaders began commemorating Adelson’s life Tuesday.
“The world has lost a great man,” said President Trump in a statement. “He tirelessly advocated for the relocation of the United States embassy to Jerusalem, the recognition of Israeli sovereignty over the Golan Heights, and the pursuit of peace between Israel and its neighbors.”
“Sheldon Adelson’s life represents the best of the American dream,” said US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo in a statement on Twitter. “The world, Israel and the United States are safer because of his work.”
Senator Jacky Rosen, a Democrat from Nevada, tweeted about Adelson’s efforts, with his wife Miriam, to fight addiction and substance abuse in the state. “As Jewish leaders, we also shared a deep concern for the rise in anti-Semitism and joined efforts to help combat hate,” she added.
“Sheldon’s great efforts to strengthen Israel’s position in the United States and to strengthen the connection between Israel and the Diaspora will be remembered for generations,” said Prime Minister Netanyahu on Twitter.
In a statement, the Republican Jewish Coalition said, “We have lost one of the most consequential figures in American Jewish history: an American patriot, a dedicated defender of Israel, an extraordinary philanthropist, and a dear mentor and friend.”