Jewish and pro-Israel groups expressed condolences over the loss of Sheldon Adelson, perhaps the most prolific individual donor to a wide range of Jewish and Israeli causes, who died on Jan. 11 at the age of 87 from complications of non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma.
He was also a Republican megadonor.
Here are some of the comments by organizations that benefitied from Adelson’s philanthropy:
•“We mourn the passing of Sheldon Adelson, who lived a remarkable life and was an extraordinary supporter of the US-Israel relationship,” AIPAC tweeted.
•“We have lost one of the most consequential figures in American Jewish history: an American patriot, a dedicated defender of Israel, an extraordinary philanthropist, and a dear mentor and friend,” said the Republican Jewish Coalition.
•Isaac Herzog, chairman of the executive of the Jewish Agency for Israel, said, “I always told Sheldon that he’s the Moses Montefiore of our generation. Just as he who broke barriers and built Jerusalem, so did Adelson in Jewish education and connection to Israel.
“He was no doubt among the greatest leaders of the Jewish people throughout this generation. His generosity, openness, modesty and accessibility always stood out. Even when we had differences of opinion, I always loved him.”
•Morton Klein of the Zionist Organization mourned the loss of Shalom Gedalia, “a huge supporter of medical research, as well as pro-Israel efforts. He also fought anti-Semitism and promoted Holocaust remembrance.”
•American Friends of Bar-Ilan University, which conferred an honorary doctorate on Dr. Miriam Adelson in 2018, called Sheldon Adelson “a dear friend of the University” whose passing “is a monumental loss.”
•Friends of the Israel Defense Forces said, “We lost a beloved friend, dear partner and true Zionist. His generous and unending support for the soldiers of Israel, and his commitment to the strength of the Jewish State and its people, have touched the lives of people all around the world and will live on in our hearts forever.”
•“Together with his wife, Dr. Miriam Adelson, he was the greatest Jewish-world philanthropist of our time,” said the Israeli-American Council. “He touched countless lives with his generosity, devotion and passion for Jewish causes and connecting with the younger generation to Israel.”
•Taglit-Birthright, which received hundreds of millions of dollars from Adelson, called him “a man of vision, action, Zionism and inspiration.”
•”Sheldon Adelson understood that the creation of news sources that could be trusted to tell the truth about Israel was necessary to the struggle to defend Jewish rights,” JNS.org said in an editorial. “That led him to found Israel Hayom, the Jewish state’s largest newspaper, as well as to be an early supporter of JNS, which has been dedicated to honest reporting and commentary providing readers with facts and insights they can’t find elsewhere.
“Only future historians — free, we hope, from partisan grudges — will be able to put into proper perspective just how important he was. If they do, we have little doubt that history will recognize him as one of the most important American Jews of his time and among the greatest of practitioners of tzedakah and supporters of Zionism.”
US and Israeli leaders mourned Adelson.
“Sheldon lived the true American dream,” said President Donald Trump in a statement released by the White House. “His ingenuity, genius and creativity earned him immense wealth, but his character and philanthropic generosity his great name. Sheldon was also a staunch supporter of our great ally the State of Israel.”
“He tirelessly advocated for the relocation of the United States embassy to Jerusalem, the recognition of Israeli sovereignty over the Golan Heights, and the pursuit of peace between Israel and its neighbors,” Trump continued. “Sheldon was true to his family, his country and all those that knew him. The world has lost a great man. He will be missed.”
Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said Adelson’s life “represents the best of the American dream,” and that “the world, Israel and the United States are safer because of his work.”
Former President George W. Bush called him an “American patriot, a generous benefactor of charitable causes and a strong supporter of Israel.”
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said that Adelson “was a wonderful friend to us personally and an incredible champion of the Jewish people, the Jewish state, and the alliance between Israel and America.”
“Sheldon unabashedly loved America and cherished the freedom and opportunity it gave him,” Netanyahu continued. “He worked tirelessly to ensure that very same freedom and opportunity would be given to others in America and around the world.”
Israeli President Reuven Rivlin also expressed sorrow and condolences to the family, noting that Adelson was “a great American patriot who saw it as his mission and goal to strengthen the alliance between Israel and the US.”
Other leading Israeli officials also weighed in on the impact of Adelson.
Ambassador Danny Danon, Israel’s 17th Permanent Representative to the United Nations and chairman of the World Likud, said that Adelson was “a central figure in the Jewish world and helped strengthen Israel’s standing both in the US and internationally. Adelson contributed greatly to many of Israel’s historic events, including the transfer of the US embassy to Jerusalem.”
Naftali Bennett of the Yamina Party called him a “Jewish patriot,” while Opposition Leader Yair Lapid of Yesh Atid praised Adelson for his “support for Israel that strengthened Jewish heritage” and that “will accompany us for many years to come.”