(February 21, 2018 / Cleveland Jewish News/JNS)
The Ohio Treasurer’s Office purchased $52.8 million in Israel bonds on Feb. 15 to increase the state’s holding to a whopping $200 million—the first time a state has reached that figure in U.S. history, according to the treasurer’s office.
“First and foremost, we’re making this investment because it’s a good investment for the taxpayers of Ohio,” Ohio Treasurer Josh Mandel told the Cleveland Jewish News. “Second, we’re making this investment to combat the bigotry of the [BDS] movement. Third, we’re making this investment to stand with the only country in the Middle East that shares American values.”
Israel bonds are the only foreign bond held by the Ohio Treasurer’s Office, said Mandel, adding that he believes Israel bonds are mutually beneficial to both Israel and Ohio.
“I believe a strong America is good for a strong Israel, and a strong Israel is good for a strong America,” he said. “Whenever the economy and the backbone of each country is strong, it’s good for the other nation as well.”
Michael Siegal, a member of the international board of directors of Israel Bonds and chairman of the board of trustees at the Jewish Agency for Israel, praised the purchase. “I think it shows a strong commitment to democratic principles on both sides of the water,” he said.
Gary Gross, chairman of the board of the Jewish Federation of Cleveland, also expressed his gratitude to the state, the treasurer’s office, and in particular, to Mandel for the investment.
“It’s clear to me the state recognizes the strength of Israel’s economy,” said Gross. “Israel has never defaulted on any instrument since the program began in the 50s. I think it expresses the confidence that the state has in how productive the Israeli economy is and the quality of the Israel bond program.”
Israel bonds, officially known as Development Corp. for Israel, was established in 1951 to underwrite securities issued by Israel’s Ministry of Finance. It ranks among Israel’s most valued economic and strategic resources, according to israelbonds.com.