The Emerging Identity of Israeli Philanthropy by Frayda Leibtag

[This article is the first in a series on Israeli philanthropy. The series will cover topics including Israeli initiatives to promote a culture of giving, corporate philanthropy and trends in Israeli philanthropy.]

by Frayda Leibtag

The good news is that Israeli philanthropy is gaining momentum and is on the rise. The bad news is that giving in Israel is still very low compared to global standards. According to a 2011 study conducted by the Center for the Studies of Philanthropy in Israel at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, philanthropy in Israel represents 0.74% of the GDP, compared to 2.1% in the United States. The proportion of Israeli philanthropy from households and businesses rose from 33% in 2006 to 38% in 2009 and the proportion of philanthropic funds from abroad (primarily the United States) declined from 67% in 2006 to 62% in 2009. Along with the decrease in Diaspora giving came a challenge from Diaspora philanthropists to wealthy Israelis to give more and an expectation that Israeli nonprofits should raise more money in Israel and from Israelis. Yet in 2011, only 4% of donations in Israel were from affluent Israelis giving more than NIS 100,000 out of their own pockets, out of an estimated 10,000 individuals with the means to do so.

Historically and culturally, Israelis are not “givers,” at least not in the classic philanthropic sense. Israel was founded on a socialist ethos, according to which the government was expected to take care of citizens’ needs. The Zionist enterprise was largely built with funding from abroad, with the expectation that the Israelis would roll up their sleeves and get their hands dirty while Diaspora Jews would write the checks. These legacies have an enormous impact on the type of giving occurring in Israel today.

In the United States, giving is encouraged through generous tax benefits. In comparison, in Israel, there is a lack of philanthropy-conducive tax incentives combined with high individual and corporate taxes. Alongside the financial incentives for giving in the U.S. is the reality that many American philanthropists are the second and third generations of affluent families who have been raised with the ethic that with wealth comes the responsibility to give back. They were born into an American culture of philanthropy that is based on tradition and professionalism. In contrast, much of Israel’s economic elite is newly wealthy and the culture of giving is not prevalent among the affluent. Many Israelis have simply not been educated to give. Compulsory army service and the high income taxes in Israel also leave many citizens with the feeling that they have already paid their dues to the country.

Islam: The Foundation of the Middle East Conflict by Jerrold L. Sobel

  As we approach the 4th month and 14th meeting between Israel and the Palestinian Authority (PA), the latest round of U.S. pressured negotiations seem hopelessly deadlocked.  What else is new?   Secretary of State Kerry arrived in Jerusalem yesterday to try and resuscitate the perpetually moribund peace talks between Israel and the PLO.  According […]

GIULIO MEOTTI:Why Did so Many Wanted Nazis Convert to Islam? There are Nazi grafts in Arab-Islamic terrorism. The list is long – but is there a connection?   At the top of the most wanted list of the Simon Wiesenthal Center there is a man who today would be one hundred years old. His name is Alois Brunner and he is responsible for the deaths of over […]


American Betrayed, Part 2: Planet X

The 19th-century French astronomer Alexis Bouvard deduced the existence of an as yet undiscovered eighth planet of the solar system by measuring the discrepancies between the predicted path of the planet Uranus and its telescopically observed positions at different points along its orbit. Later astronomers discovered “Planet X” — which was eventually named Neptune — in the precise orbital position laid out by Bouvard’s calculations.

We are in much the same predicament regarding the controversy over Diana West’s book American Betrayal. Based on perturbations in the scholarly orbits of numerous illustrious writers and editors, we may deduce the existence of a massive undiscovered black body. It’s out there somewhere, exerting its gravitational influence on its planetary neighbors in the ranks of conservative American literati. We can’t see Planet X, but we can observe its effects. We know it’s there.

No firm conclusions can be drawn about this mysterious astronomical object. Without access to sources on the editorial boards of FrontPage Magazine, Pajamas Media, National Review, etc., there is no way to determine the motivation behind the repeated, virulent, personal attacks against Diana West.

However, after pulling together information from a variety of sources, it’s possible to make some educated guesses. Although its exact position is not yet determined, Planet X is beginning to take shape out there in the night sky, blotting out segments of the starry host as it wanders past.

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

This essay is the conclusion of a post begun six weeks ago, just before I went to Warsaw (Part 1 is here). In the weeks since then, the attacks on Diana West have continued sporadically, penned in large part by the same detractors who had written previously, and published in the same venues. With the exception of Vladimir Bukovsky and Pavel Stroilov — whose validation of American Betrayal was the most significant work to date in support of Ms. West — no major writer has weighed on her behalf since I wrote Part 1 back in September.

As Stacy McCain said this morning:

Diana West has many influential friends, and her adversaries also have many friends, but most people — especially those she calls “the capital-p pundits” — seem determined to stay as far away as possible from this ugly fight. And who can blame them? Nobody wants to get themselves muddied up in a mess like this.

Yet a large number of ordinary people, small-fry-bloggers, and medium-size (“small-p”?) pundits — including Mr. McCain himself — have issued ringing declarations of support for Diana West and decried the ad-hominem attacks against her. Something out there is pulling the Capital-Ps away from any orbit that might intersect with public commentary on American Betrayal.

On October 31 Diana West was the guest of honor at the annual gathering of the Pumpkin Papers Irregulars, a group that honors the memory of Whittaker Chambers and his struggle against American Communism, and in particular his victory over Alger Hiss. Ms. West addressed the assembly about her book (see the link above for the full video of her speech).

M. Stanton Evans, one of the most respected experts on Soviet infiltration in the United States, has repeatedly and enthusiastically endorsed American Betrayal. So Diana West has earned the respect of many of the core writers who specialize in anti-communism. The notable exception is Ronald Radosh, who fired the first salvo in the war against American Betrayal with his attack at FPM in early August. Various acolytes followed suit over the next few weeks, the most prominent among them David Horowitz and Conrad Black.

Before Mr. Radosh brought his siege engines to bear against the book, it had been reviewed positively by a number of prominent conservatives, including Amity Shlaes, Monica Crowley, Brad Thor, and Laura Ingraham. After war was declared, however, silence descended among the best-known conservative writers and talking heads in America. It was left to the small-p pundits, Europeans, and the doughty irregulars of the blogosphere to defend Ms. West from all that personal vitriol. Notable stalwarts were Stacy McCain, John L. Work, David Solway, Edward Cline, Ruth King, Debra Burlingame, Andy Bostom, Hans Jansen, and Lars Hedegaard, among others.

The silence of the conservative lambs seems to have been prompted by the persistent lobbying of Ronald Radosh. During the early days of the controversy he sent out an email to a large list exhorting the recipients to condemn Diana West. With the exception of Conrad Black, no one seems to have taken him up on his call to arms and joined the fray. However, with the signal exceptions of Frank Gaffney and Vladimir Bukovsky, no conservative figure of national stature stood up to defend their colleague against the scurrilous personal bile being flung at her. They evidently assessed the odds, and determined that they didn’t have a dog in this fight — not if it meant going up against the likes of David Horowitz, Conrad Black, and Ronald Radosh.

This type of intimidation is nothing new. Back in the 1990s a young reporter at National Review wrote a piece about communists in Congress. After it appeared in print, Ronald Radosh called him up out of the blue and warned him that his career would go nowhere if he continued to write such articles.

So how does Mr. Radosh manage to wield such power over some of the most respected conservative writers and journalists? A former communist himself, he is fairly well-known for his works on communism, but hardly a major player on the literary scene. How is it that he exerts such a strong gravitational effect on the behavior of prominent writers?

One deduces the existence of a much larger body than Planet Radosh, based on the perturbations in numerous literary orbits.


WASHINGTON — The fourth anniversary of the Fort Hood massacre slipped by today without a mention from the Pentagon but with a death sentence recently imposed on the head of the assailant.

Finally over were the endless stretches of former Army psychiatrist Nidal Hasan delaying his trial through everything from facial hair to scores of pretrial motions. In August, Hasan was convicted of killing 13 and wounding 32 in the slaughter for which he proudly took credit.

The Obama administration infamously classified the attack as “workplace violence” instead of terrorism, which the Pentagon said was vital terminology to not jeopardize the prosecution of Hasan. “The Department of Defense is committed to the integrity of the ongoing court martial proceedings of [Hasan] and for that reason will not at this time further characterize the incident that occurred at Fort Hood on Nov. 5, 2009,” Pentagon spokesman George Little said.

Yet since Hasan was convicted, there’s been no movement toward reversing that — or getting the victims the same benefits and protections afforded those affected in the 9/11 attacks.

There has been movement, though, in Congress, where Texas lawmakers are laboring to reverse a four-year wrong and find for the victims the justice missing in the federal government’s treatment of their case.

And they could use concerned Americans’ help to rally support to bring their effort to the floor for a vote.

The Honoring the Fort Hood Heroes Act was introduced in the upper chamber in September by Sen. John Cornyn (R-Texas) and in the House by Reps. John Carter (R-Texas) and Roger Williams (R-Texas). Carter and Williams share Fort Hood in their district boundaries.


Communism explained history in terms of a struggle between classes for political and economic power. Nazism explained history as a struggle between races for world domination. What claim does anti-Zionism make (that you haven’t heard before) ?

Zionism = apartheid = racism. The once reviled and then revoked UN resolution was archived and mothballed when some quick-witted people nicked the concept, hid the birth certificate, gave it a pseudo-humanitarian suit of clothes, then held aloft a rollicking rallying cry. Israel the apartheid practitioner!

Did it work? Did it just! Apartheid experts and legal minds, try as they might, were like straws in the wind. Richard Goldstone fired every argument in the armory to prove that apartheid was a libel. Did it make a jot of difference? If anything, picketers wielded their banners more flamboyantly.

What does that tell us about anti-Zionists? Were they called forth by a real situation? Whosoever reflects on the word ‘ideology’ connects the dots. As a modern-day ‘ism’ anti-Zionism is probably second only to humanitarianism or human rights. Indeed the two could well be Siamese twins. One lives off the other. Separate the human rights half and the anti-Zionist twin would have little to say.

Are we looking at a new world-wide ideology? Yes, when we look at the essential elements, anti-Zionism takes the cake all right.

Turn up a lexicon and we learn that ideology is a body of beliefs that have the power to stir up and mobilize people. Now turn up a political philosopher such as Hannah Arendt.


Under Obamacare, the sick and weak and old would stand before death panels of bureaucrats to be granted life or death.

Former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin was laughed out of town for making four years ago what we now know is a prescient prediction. Perhaps she is one of the few who actually read the health care bill before it passed.

“And who will suffer the most when they ration care? The sick, the elderly, and the disabled, of course,” she wrote on her Facebook page in 2009.

“The America I know and love is not one in which my parents or my baby with Down Syndrome will have to stand in front of Obama’s ‘death panel’ so his bureaucrats can decide, based on a subjective judgment of their ‘level of productivity in society,’ whether they are worthy of health care. Such a system is downright evil.”

President Obama and his blind supporters who were busy not reading the bill howled in protest, calling Mrs. Palin an irresponsible liar unworthy of the public political stage.

The media’s alleged keeper of the truth PolitiFact declared her assertion the “Lie of the Year.”, another alleged “truth” panel, summarily dismissed the claim as a “whopper.”

Now comes cancer survivor Edie Littlefield Sundby.

“I would be delighted if we deleted party affiliation from all ballots, encouraging people to vote for ideas and records of accomplishment, not parties. We must once again begin to value truth, decency, hard work and the can-do attitude that produced the greatest nation in the history of the world.”

As a child in elementary school, I was the epitome of an underachiever. You could always count on me to get the lowest score on a test, because I lacked even the basic knowledge of an unsophisticated street kid.

I secretly admired the smart children in school and wondered how they always seemed to know the answers to any question the teachers would ask. I would have been doomed to failure but my mother, who was a domestic, keenly observed that her employers did a great deal of reading. She determined that my brother and I would become avid readers in the hope that we would emulate them. We resisted the change from our entertainment-focused lives, but because of her tenacity, my mother always prevailed in the end.

One day, I noticed that I, too, knew most of the answers to the questions the teacher was asking, because I had recently been reading about the subject matter at hand. I was inspired to read everything I could get my hands on, and my academic ascension quickly landed me at the head of the class.

Reading made me knowledgeable and completely changed my perception of myself and the world around me. I began to question things and to study subjects on my own, and I took great joy in astounding adults with my knowledge. The point here is, my perceptions of the world and my role in it were drastically altered by the accumulation of knowledge.


Mark Twain is supposed to have said that “everybody talks about the weather, but nobody does anything about it.” That was actually his friend Charles Dudley Warner (an editorial writer) who said it. President Obama, who has no taste for idle talk, now proposes to actually do something about the rowdy wind and the errant rain. He has appointed a task force. If that doesn’t work, another executive order may follow, to tell the sun to shape up.

For now, the president has ordered all agencies of the federal government to escalate their preparedness in towns and states threatened by global warming. Among the terrors Mr. Obama identifies as requiring federal intervention are “prolonged periods of excessively high temperatures, more heavy downpours, an increase in wildfires, more severe droughts, permafrost thawing, ocean acidification, and sea-level rise.” Frost on the pumpkin and outbreaks of crabgrass in the backyard can be dealt with later.

The president’s new Council on Climate Preparedness and Resilience will tell communities how to mitigate the effects of climate change by recycling and changing to mercury-filled light bulbs, lest the polar bears drown. On his panel are seven Democratic governors and the Republican governor of Guam, “where America’s morning begins” and where the day sometimes includes a big wind roaring down Typhoon Alley.

The president is so determined to impose a little order in the universe that he wants to spend nearly twice as much money on universe-discipline as he’s willing to spend to secure America’s borders against unrestricted and unregulated immigration. In a recent report to House Republicans, the White House took note that the United States will spend $22.2 billion across 18 federal agencies this year to lower the planet’s temperature. Next year, it expects to spend nearly that much to pay authors of scare stories and the producers of windmills, solar panels and $16-a-gallon jet fuel extracted from algae.

On the other hand, Mr. Obama wants to spend only $12 billion for border security and customs enforcement, the agents assigned to hold back illegal immigration. Given the administration’s handling of the southern border — an estimated 12 million illegals, and counting — some people are skeptical that even spending all that climate money will accomplish very much beyond expanding those 18 federal agencies.


America has always lauded efficiency. Even before the existence of the United States of America, the colonists cultivated a reputation for being efficient marksmen. German gunsmiths immigrated to the colonies and their “rifled” gun barrels proved much more accurate than the smooth-bore muskets and blunderbusses, popular in that day. In fact, the pinpoint accuracy of the colonial “rifle-men” would prove to be a major advantage for the rebels against the professional soldiers of Britain, as it allowed them to conserve ammunition and cripple the morale of Lord Howe’s men.

Effectiveness and efficiency have always commanded a premium in the United States, but today these traits seem to be more elusive than an affordable insurance policy. Looking through the annals of history, no other nation has achieved a comparable amount of innovation in such a wide variety of disciplines as speedily as America has done. The scientific inventions of Franklin and Edison, the political genius of Madison and Jefferson, the militaristic dominance of Eisenhower and Patton, the novel entertainment of Walt Disney and Elvis, and the entrepreneurial spirit of Gates, Ford, and Jobs only scratch the surface on two and a half centuries of American ingenuity.

But the world-changing products of these American minds did not draw their first breath on a bed of incompetence. Yes, Edison’s inventions sometimes took hundreds of iterations to emerge and many of Disney’s sketches ended up on the ink-stained linoleum of his studio floor, but those were not their final incarnations. In each case, our free market system rewarded the most effective product with success while simultaneously encouraging future minds to find even more efficient ways of performing the same task. This is how the free market functions and why it works so brilliantly to provide value and prosperity for creator and consumer alike.