Fascinating interview of Sheldon Adelson on the Forward blog, by Jacob Berkman, in which the richest Jew in the world, as the casino king puts it, brags about supporting a foreign military, Israel’s:
…We built a helicopter pilots training school at one of the air bases. We built a ready room at another air base in conjunction with other philanthropists. We built a large recreation room with a gym and everything at another air base. We are one of the biggest supporters of the Air Force Center in Herzliyah. The list goes on and on. And all of these things are good. But you know they don’t take large amounts of money.
Oh I know: dual loyalty is not a real issue! Adelson also brags of taking 146 congressmen to Israel:
My wife and I took through AIPAC 146 congressmen and senators to Israel over the last 15 to 18 years. So we have done a lot and we continue to do a lot.
But more important than taking politicians to Israel is taking Jewish kids to Israel: so that they marry Jews. Adelson is the biggest funder of birthright, the program to take Jewish people under 26 to Israel for a free trip.
The most important one that we do is Birthright Israel. The study by Brandeis just came out to show that the rate of intermarriage here is 58 percent. Only 42 percent of the American Jews married within the Jewish religion. Today about 76 percent [of Birthright alumni who have tied the knot married] within the religion. … How much more can one contribute to Jewish continuity?
I don’t think there is any better program in my lifetime or since the State of Israel was founded than Birthright. I haven’t talked to a kid that came back that didn’t say the four words: “It changed my life.”
It is a reminder of one of the primary motivators of the Israel lobby and Zionism: the Jews over there in Israel are better Jews than we are because they don’t marry out and we do. They are preserving Jewishness, which means fighting people. So let’s fund the heck out of their military! Of course in the next generation, young American Jews are wondering if they have to go through life like this, feeling that they’re bad Jews for wanting to date non-Jews or for questioning Israel’s militarism.