Friday, May 18, 2007

Million-dollar questions

From Haaretz: "By Ruth Sinai

'Do you think that wealthy Israelis contribute enough to philanthropic causes?' This was the opening question in a provocative and unusual discussion that took place in Jerusalem about 10 days ago between Jewish millionaires from abroad and their Israeli counterparts. The man who posed the question, panel moderator Shale Stiller, president of the Harry and Jeanette Weinberg Foundation - the largest philanthropic foundation in the Jewish world - intended to get some answers. To his right on the podium sat Israeli industrialist Dov Lautman and American philanthropist Edith Everett; to his left, high-tech entrepreneur Nir Barkat and British businessman Jacob Schimmel, chairman of IDB Holding Corporation and one of the heads of Matan, a nonprofit organization that promotes investment by the business sector in Israeli communal efforts....

Edith Everett, who donates millions of shekels annually to education and welfare institutions - including in Hatzor Haglilit and the Druze sector - angrily disagreed with both men. The government should be more involved, especially when it comes to basic services, she said, adding that it is infuriating that only half of children in educational institutions with a long school day receive lunch there. Everett told of how for three years running, the principal of a school in Hatzor Haglilit has asked her to help pay teachers' salaries. "I'm not willing to pay salaries anymore. It's the state's job to pay the teachers," she declared, adding that money should be donated by other sources - in addition to the government's allocations, not instead of them.

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