When newspaper publisher and real estate magnate Mortimer (“Mort”) Zuckerman was accused by a pair of academics of using his wealth and power in support of Zionism, he responded: “The allegations of this disproportionate influence of the Jewish community remind me of the 92-year-old man sued in a paternity suit. He said he was so proud, he pleaded guilty.”

That mix of brilliance, wit and unabashed devotion to Zionism is characteristic of the Canadian-American billionaire.

Born and raised by an Orthodox family in Montreal, Zuckerman was an intellectual prodigy. Before turning 25, he earned a bachelor’s degree and a law degree from McGill University, an MBA from the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania and a master’s in law from Harvard University.

He would show equal brilliance in business. In 1970, he co-founded Boston Properties and succeeded in building the real estate firm into one of the 500 largest companies in the United States as measured by market capitalization.

Zuckerman, now 80, has used his wealth to advance humanitarian causes. A trustee of Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center and the Dana Farber Cancer Institute, he has contributed millions to cancer research and treatment.

A special focus, though, has been his support for Israel. Among his many contributions was a $100 million gift in 2016 to bring academics to the Jewish state, funding that puts it on a par with the Rhodes scholarship. The gift aims both to break “boycott” campaigns against the Jewish state and to draw Israeli researchers in the sciences, living abroad, back home. The money will go to students and faculty at the Technion-Institute of Technology, the Weizmann Institute of Science, Tel Aviv University and the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, deepening collaboration between the best research institutions in Israel and the United States.

Perhaps even more importantly, in running such newspapers and magazines as The Atlantic, U.S. News & World Report and The New York Daily News, Zuckerman has been a passionate and informed advocate for Israel. He has both written and published hundreds of articles and op-eds that present the facts of Israel’s history, expose the actions and designs of its enemies, and explain the strategic importance of Israel to America.

In addition, he has served as chairman of the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations and as president of the America-Israel Friendship League.

Both through his philanthropy and his outspoken advocacy, Mort Zuckerman has been a great friend of Israel and a great champion of the U.S.-Israel alliance.