U.S. philanthropists Sheldon and Miriam Adelson made two large gifts in 2014 to bolster the sciences in Israel. They offered $25 million to the school of health sciences at Ariel University to allow it to open a full program in medical science. And they donated $16.4 million to SpaceIL for its project which aims to land the first Israeli craft on the moon.
SpaceIL, which is also supported by the Schusterman Family Foundation and other U.S. donors, is participating in the latest competition sponsored by the X Prize Foundation: the Google Lunar prize. This offers a $20 million award to the first team that lands a privately funded operating robot on the moon, an effort to speed affordable access to the moon by encouraging private entrepreneurs and donors to get involved.
Other major U.S. donors to Israel include Bernie Marcus, Haim Saban, John Paulson, Charles Bronfman, Morton Mandel, Michael Steinhardt, and the Weinberg Foundation. Overall, it is estimated that about $2.7 billion is now donated annually to various causes in Israel by diaspora Jews, with the largest portion of that coming from the U.S.
- Jerusalem Post report on Ariel University gift, jpost.com/Jewish-World/Jewish-Features/Sheldon-Adelson-pledges-25m-to-Ariel-University-360480
- Haaretz report on SpaceIL gift, haaretz.com/life/science-medicine/1.584852