Local charities lose all with Madoff fund
Bernard Madoff's fraud has claimed yet another victim. The Yeshaya Horowitz Association, which helps fund applied research projects in Israel, has lost all of its money, reportedly some $800 million. in Israel. Sector sources say it doesn't have the money to pay its workers for December.
Madoff is being investigated for a suspected $50 billion fraud in the U.S.
The Horowitz Association has been active in Israel since 1988, and has donated $100-$200 million to various organizations, mainly universities, hospitals and research institutes. The association's chairman, Professor Henri Atlan, also heads the Human Biology Research Center at Hadassah University Hospital's Department of Medical Biophysics and Nuclear Medicine Department in Ein Karem.
The fund, named after Rabbi Yeshaya Halevi Horowitz, who lived in the 17th century, is backed by an anonymous Jew who died 17 years ago. However, the association's trustee attorney, Yair Green, told TheMarker that $800 million is a fantastical figure, and far from accurate, and that the amount involved is far smaller. "The management will convene next week to decide on the association's continued operations" he said.
Bar-Ilan University was one of the institutions that stood to benefit from the association's funding though a $3 million donation last year and another $3 million promised for this year. The funding had been earmarked for absorption of returning scientists. Other recipient universities include the Hebrew University and Ben-Gurion University of the Negev.
A spokesman for Sheba Medical Center at Tel Hashomer said that the Yeshaya Horowitz Association had also supported scholarships for research doctors, through the auspices of the Health Ministry's chief scientist.
On Monday the ministry learned that the association had more or less evaporated, having investing its all of its assets with Madoff. The loss was an immediate blow to scholarship recipients, who had been invited to a scholarship award ceremony scheduled for today. The Health Ministry and Sheba Medical Center have promised to find alternative financing for them for this year.
Madoff's massive fraud can expected to have further ill effects, in terms of tens of millions of dollars by some estimates, on organizations here. The CHAIS Fund, which has invested some $250 million in institutes of education and higher learning in Israel since it was founded, also announced that it would be forced to cease its operations after investing all of its funds with Madoff.