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To celebrate Israel’s 70th year, Adelsons donate $70 million to Birthright program

“I don’t want any kid to say they were too old or too sick to visit Israel,” says Sheldon Adelson at the 18th annual Birthright Israel gala.

Sheldon and Dr. Miriam Adelson. Credit: Wikimedia Commons.
Sheldon and Dr. Miriam Adelson. Credit: Wikimedia Commons.

On the eve of Israel’s 70th anniversary, Dr. Miriam and Sheldon Adelson surprised the audience at the 18th annual Birthright Israel gala on Sunday night by announcing a $70 million donation to the project.

The Birthright Israel project, also known as Taglit in Hebrew, brings Jewish youths from around the world to Israel to foster a bond with the Jewish state.

“Before Israel was founded, my father always said he wished there was a place where Jewish people could live. He always wanted to go, but by the time I could send him, he said he was too old and too sick. I don’t want any kid to say they were too old or too sick to visit Israel,” Adelson told the 650 people in attendance.

In total, $125 million was raised at the Sunday-night gala in New York.

The Adelsons, who received the “Guardians of the Jewish Future” award, have to date contributed $410 million in support of Birthright Israel.

Since its inception in 2000, Birthright Israel has brought more than 600,000 Jewish youths and young adults to Israel.

Birthright Israel recently announced a new age category for the first time since the organization’s founding, offering a limited number of Birthright Israel trip options for 27- to 32-year-olds this summer season.

The Adelson family owns the company that is the primary shareholder in Israel Hayom.

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