“Frankly, the Democrats don’t have a monopoly on having a heart,” Sheldon Adelson repeated.His provenance as someone coming from the Jewish proletariat will lead him, once successful, to become a great philanthropist. He was born on August 4, 1933, in the neighborhood of Dorchester, Boston, then a “Jewish ghetto”. His father, of Lithuanian origin, worked as a taxi driver; his Welsh mother was a knitter.”The whole family – my parents, two brothers and my sister – lived in one bedroom,” recalled Adelson, who passed away this week at the age of 87.
At twelve, he borrows money from an uncle to buy a cloister of newspapers. But he’ll start making real money with automatic machines. In 1979, he and four associates start a computer fair in Las Vegas, the “Comdex” (the sale would have made $ 500 million). But Adelson’s greatest success will come when he focuses his efforts on Las Vegas, where he would become one of the world’s foremost gambling moguls with ownership as far as Macau.
And when you are among the twenty richest men in the world (thirty-six billion of personal wealth) and you are a mentsh, you start thinking about where to throw some to help that world. Israel, Zionism and US politics became Adelson’s great passions.
In Israel he became famous for having created the freebie Israel Hayom newspaper in 2007, close to Benjamin Netanyahu. In US politics, Adelson has been one of the Republican Party’s most important megadonors in recent election cycles. First the George W. Bush campaigns, then the one hundred million dollars to Mitt Romney against Barack Obama and finally, in 2016, although he did not initially support Donald Trump, Adelson ends up pouring tens of millions of dollars into his presidential campaign.
Adelson played a pivotal role in convincing Trump to move the US embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, to withdraw the US from the nuclear deal with Iran (against which Netanyahu has fought for hard) and to recognize Israeli sovereignty over the Golan.
But not just politics. Adelson invested tens of millions of dollars in “Birthright,” the program that takes young American Jews on organized trips to Israel, in the University of Ariel in the Jewish Samaria, and in medical research, run by his wife, Mirian Adelson, who is said to have been the driving force behind many of his positions on Israel.
“We are like stonemasons”, he said. “We mix the cement that connects one generation of Jews to another”. He flew to Israel eight times a year. When Forbes asked him if it was right that the rich could finance politicians’ campaigns, Adelson replied: “As long as i twill be possible, I will. Because I know people like George Soros have been doing it for years, if not decades”. He was not ashamed to attack leftist rich Jews.
When he first set foot in Israel in 1988, Adelson chose to wear the shoes of his father, that Lithuanian Jew who had never been able to make the trip. Now the question is: is US Jewry – entrapped in suicidal assimilation, liberal policies and the “diversity” cult – still able to produce such a proud Jew, a wealthy right wing Zionist who has the means and the faith to fight for Israel’s sake and a conservative US leadership?
I am not sure.