Simon Falic (right) speaking at a North American Free Trade Agreement event in 2005. (Photo: The United States-Mexico Chamber of Commerce/Flickr).
After it was announced yesterday that Israeli elections will take place this January, Haaretz revisited Benjamin Netanyahu’s campaign contributions and found a staggering 96.8% of the prime minister’s support came from foreign donors. And of these donations, over half came from one American family – the Falic family of Miami, Florida. The Falics own the airport chain Duty Free Americas and are the former owners of the House of Christian Lacroix. Through their private foundation they support excavations in the West Bank, built a “welcome center” in a settlement, and fund student field trips to illegal outposts in the occupied Palestinian territories.
Pictures posted in 2011 on the blog My Right Word confirm the Falic family is sponsoring an archeological dig near the settlement of Shilo.
Additionally after the family patriarch, Fima Falic, passed away in January of this year, an obituary by the Zionist Organization of America applauded the family foundation and Fima’s son, a Netanyahu and Romney donor, Simon Falic, for funding youth trips to a settlement vineyard:
ZOA has greatly benefited from the Falics’ generous support in Judea and Samaria. Only a few weeks ago, during the ZOA Student Leadership Mission to Israel, ZOA students were brought to the Psagot Winery and Binyamin Welcome Center owned by Fima Falic’s son, Simon Falic. Several of the students attending the mission had even been sponsored by the Falic Family Foundation.
Falic (right) with with John Boehner, speaker of House.
(Photo: Col live/Haaretz)
At the beginning of this month Alex Kane and Phil Weiss reported the Falic family not only financed Netanyahu’s campaign but also American politicians. Kane and Weiss said the Falic family donated to both Mitt Romney’s presidential campaign and gave over $130,000 to Debbie Wasserman Schultz. Earlier this year during Romney’s publicity trip to Israel the Falic family was one of 47 donors who topped the GOP nominee’s “united Jerusalem” excursion off with $1 million in campaign contributions. During Netanyahu’s last campaign the Falic family raised NIS 165,000, approximately half of the total contributions.
Relying on overseas support is commonplace for top Israeli officials. Haaretz reported over half of all campaign contributions come from overseas:
More than half of the contributions to politicians in the past two years – 53 percent of the NIS 13 million – came from people who live overseas, cannot vote in Israel and are not directly impacted by the elected officials’ decisions.
And one minister of Knesset from the Likud party, Moshe Ya’alon, even received all of his campaign support from foreign donations.
Israeli campaign finance laws limit the amount of donations from foreign supporters, but in the case of the Falic family, multiple members of the same immediate family donated to the Prime Minister’s campaign. Haaretz said in total around 550 foreigners “are responsible for the big money behind Israel’s politicians.”