By Mandy Katz
Birthright may have to cut back on the inspirational Israel tours it hosts for Jewish American teens, the Forward reports. A drop in the fortunes of the Las Vegas Sands Corporation threatens the financial viability of its majority stockholder, Sheldon Adelson, a major Birthright donor who last year was the world’s richest Jew, according to Forbes. (His ranking has since slipped.)
Birthright’s officers contend Adelson will come through on his outstanding $20-million pledge to support this summer’s tours. But if he doesn’t, insiders told the Forward, participant numbers could fall from 25,000 to 5,000.
Fertilizing not just the fields of Israel advocacy, Adelson in recent years has also spread his wealth in GOP funding circles, most notably by sinking at least $30 million into a now-collapsing advocacy group called Freedom’s Watch. (That’s where Ari Fleischer hung his hat after resigning as President Bush’s White House Press Secretary, a move Joan Walsh says he may not want at the top of his resume.)