Lev Leviev, like Sheldon Adelson, is one of the world’s wealthiest and most prominent Jewish right-wing donors. Both of their financial empires are teetering on the edge. Adelson’s was saved last month in the nick of time by a $2-billion infusion from outside backers along with a total of $1-billion from the gambling mogul himself which staved off bankruptcy. There is no question though that his right wing largess will suffer. UPI is already reporting that Freedom’s Watch is closing by year’s end. Birthright will drastically reduce the number of free Israel trips it provides to Jewish young people.
Leviev’s beneficiaries are already hurting. He is the single largest donor in the world to Lubavitch ($75-million per year over the past few years according to the following article) and to the Russian Jewish community. They’re already expecting chilly winds to blow this winter:
Cash Crisis Rocks Chabad
The world’s biggest Jewish outreach group faces a cash crisis fuelled by fears that its biggest donor, billionaire diamond mogul Lev Leviev, may slash funding due to his own financial difficulties.
…Sources within the movement say many of the emissaries in charge of running Jewish religious activities around the globe have been told that their funding will be stopped.
…In the Former Soviet Union, where Chabad dominates communal services for most of the estimated 1.5 million Jews, senior educational leaders have confirmed that many schools founded and supported by Mr Leviev’s Or Avner network have had their funding stopped or limited over the past few weeks.
The Jewish Chronicle article notes the financial distress that Leviev and his empire faces:
The share value of his main holding company, Africa Israel, this year dropped by 86 per cent on the Tel Aviv stock exchange and almost all its shares are now collateral to the Israeli banks, to which it owns over £2 billion.
…The Israeli business media has estimated that his worth has slumped by at least 60 per cent in recent months and he has been trying to sell off major parts of his empire.
My informant on all things Leviev tells me that the diamond mogul has NOT been attempting to sell off his settlement projects in places like Matityahu East, Tsufim and Maaleh Adumim. Instead, he has been trying to sell off his malls within Israel proper. Given Leviev’s ideological/theological predilections I imagine the settlements would be the last to go.
That’s unfortunate for those of us who were hoping that the financial crisis would have a silver lining in terms of dampening right wing support for various odious militant projects like settlements, Bibi’s campaign (Adelson’s pet project), the Shalem Center, Freedom’s Watch, etc.
Bloom also reminds me that Leviev’s diamond mines are his cash cows and they won’t be hurt by the downturn. Diamonds, like gold, seem to always be in style and desirable properties. When he starts selling his interest in his mines then you’ll know he’s really on the edge. And then we can really start celebrating.