Report: Adelson Offered Obama $1b to Develop Iron Dome for Israel

U.S. president politely refused, saying he did not think it was a good idea to set the precedent of a private citizen financing the acquisition of munitions.

Sheldon Adelson at a news conference in Macau, China, December 18, 2015.
Reuters

Casino mogul Sheldon Adelson made a secret offer to U.S. President Barack Obama in 2013 to contribute a billion dollars out of his own pocket to produce an Iron Dome battery for Israel, Politico reported on Thursday.

According to the article, after Congress passed a new bill funding Iron Dome, Adelson called Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid, asking him to convey a secret message to the White House with the billion-dollar offer. The money would go to the U.S. federal budget to develop additional batteries of the missile defense system.

Reid complied, using his open channel with the president. According to the report, Obama was taken aback, but after he collected himself, he asked the senator to politely thank Adelson but to let him know he did not believe it was a good idea to set a precedent by which an individual finances the government to acquire munitions.

Adelson, a billionaire who made his fortune in Nevada casinos, is considered the Republican Party's biggest contributor. He contributed $100 million to Obama's rivals during the 2012 presidential election campaign in a bid to unseat the president.

Additionally, Adelson is deemed the patron of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. He is thought to have founded the freely distributed Israel Hayom to serve as Netanyahu's mouthpiece in the Israeli press and as a counterweight to the Yedioth Ahronoth newspaper.