U.S. casino mogul Sheldon Adelson will donate $25 million to Ariel University, the university announced Monday. The donation to the university's health sciences school will be Adelson’s first contribution to an institution that operates over the Green Line, and is intended to strengthen Jewish settlement in the West Bank.
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“My years in business have taught me that when a crack opens in one place you should not only seal it but strengthen the entire wall and sometimes the entire building,” Adelson said, according to a press release put out by the university.
“The many attacks on settlement in Judea and Samaria are connected to the long struggle against the State of Israel since its founding, and even before that," he said. "The donation to Ariel University is about building a Zionist wall in place of the crack. I hope that the city of Ariel, the capital of Samaria, will grow and flourish in wake of the university’s expansion. The donation to health science studies in Ariel is a donation for the future health and welfare of all Israelis.”
The donation is for the university’s School of Health Sciences, in which 1,200 students study paramedical professions such as physical therapy, health management and nutritional science. Adelson’s contribution will fund the school’s ambitious development program, which includes the construction of a regional medical center to provide emergency medical services for the Jewish and Palestinian population, as well as additional medical services for Palestinians.
New courses of study in occupational therapy, pharmaceutical chemistry and emergency medicine will be opened, and research and teaching in medicine will be further developed.
In recent years, Adelson, who is considered close to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, has donated tens of millions of dollars to Israeli institutions including the International Disciplinary Center in Herzliya, the Yad Vashem Holocaust museum, the Birthright program funding Israel trips for young Jews and a foundation working to send a spaceship to the moon, though he is perhaps best known in the country for his ownership of the newspaper Israel Hayom.
In the United States, Adelson was the largest donor to the Republican Party in the 2012 election campaign, giving close to $100 million. Sheldon Adelson and his wife Miriam, a physician, also have a foundation to fund medical research.