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U.S. Jews' donations to Israel double in past 20 years, study shows

Study, due to be completed in April, disproves widely held view that
philanthropic donations from the United States have dropped over
economic, political reasons.

Revital Blumenfeld

Donations by U.S. Jews to Israeli nonprofits have doubled
during the past 12 years, according to a first-of-its-kind study
conducted by professors at Brandeis University.

The study, scheduled to be
completed in late April, disproves the widely held view by many Israelis
that philanthropic donations from the United States have dropped over
time due to economic and political reasons. In fact, the study -
previewed last week during a hearing by the Knesset Subcommittee for the
Relations of Israel with World Jewish Communities - suggests quite the
In 2007, various Israeli organizations received $2.1
billion from U.S. donors through the Jewish Agency and various
"friendship" associations, according to findings by professors Theodore
Sasson and Eric Fleisch, of the Cohen Center of Modern Jewish Studies at
Brandeis University in Massachusetts. This is double what U.S. donors
contributed 12 years earlier, when only $1.08 billion was raised in the
United States for Israeli organizations.

"Most of the income of the
leading organizations in Israel increased also when adjusted for
inflation," Professor Sasson said in an interview with Haaretz. There
has also been an increase in the number of U.S. organizations supporting
Israel, he said, with the emergence of some 150 new pro-Israel groups
in the United States in the 1990s, and some 280 emerging during the past

While the research indicates that
there was a 10-25 percent drop in donations during 2008 and 2009 -
during the period of severe economic crisis in the United States - it
suggests there was a substantial rise in donations in 2010, when the
crisis began to subside.

"According to the partial data we
have on the volume of contributions for 2010, we see that there is a
clear rise in the amount of contributions," Sasson said. "Since some of
the new organizations who joined did not yet file the data on their
contributions, it is not possible to know definitively the size of the
increase, but I believe that we will reach the record of 2007." Because
of a drop in contributions to the Jewish Agency in recent years, "It was
thought that Jews care less about Israel, but the situation suggests
that U.S. Jewry is deeply committed to Israel," he said. Sasson says the
main reason for the increase in contributions is not necessarily linked
with a rise in Zionism, but to the increase in the number of donor
collectors and their improved professionalism over the years.

"There is also the rise in the
number of NGOs and the fact that since 2000 there have been NGOs who
raise funds directly and not through the Jewish Agency or the [American
Jewish Joint Distribution Committee], as in the past," he said.

Added: Mar-31-2012 Occurred On: Mar-31-2012
Other Middle East
Tags: Israel, US, jews, donations, Israel, settlers, traitors, treason, AIPAC, aid
Location: Israel (load item map)
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