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Foreign philanthropists donate the most money to Israeli charities, non-profit organizations, volunteer programs, education institutes, religious facilities and cultural events, the central Bureau of Statistics reported on Tuesday.

This is the first time that statistics have been gathered regarding the income from philanthropists which donate to private groups, universities, hospitals and other organizations.

Non-profit organizations donated in 2006 NIS 5.1 billion, 67.5 percent of which was donated by both private and commercial philanthropists abroad.

The Israeli based charity organizations seriously rely on foreign philanthropists, as out of the annual budget which comes to the total of NIS 44 million, 72 percent of the money is donated by foreign organizations.

"We are one of the largest money importers in the western world," said Professor Hillel Shmid from the research center on philanthropy in the Hebrew University.

"As a result of this, we are so highly dependent on external funds that every global economic crisis has an immediate affect on our non-profit organizations, which is what happened in the recent financial crisis," he added.

The research includes data from 288 institutions, as well as figures from tax revenue, and a survey conducted with all the foundations that existed in 2006.

The survey also shows that foundations in central Israel receive more donations, while peripheral foundations remain neglected.

The foundations spent in 2006 NIS 6.7 billion, 2.3 percent of the government's expenses that year. NIS 4.7 billion was donated to non-profit organizations, 40 percent of which was donated to Universities.

Other institutions that received funds from donations in 2006 were national institutes (23.1), private homes (12), and hospitals (2.7).