Opinion

What Unit Did Sheldon and Miriam Adelson’s Sons Serve In?

The mega donors are enthusiastic supporters of Israel’s most extreme, fanatic right-wing parties and governments but it seems they weren't so enthusiastic to send their sons to the army

Sheldon Adelson and Dr. Miriam Adelson attending Birthright's 18th anniversary gala in New York, April 15, 2018.
Michael Priest Photography

Last Friday, the daily Israel Hayom dressed in its glad rags and devoted about a fourth of its front page to an article praising the nation-state law and giving thanks for it. It was written by the publisher, Dr. Miriam Adelson the wife of Sheldon Adelson.

At the start of her article, Adelson promised readers that the national flag, which flew at the top of the page, “will appear in the same place on every edition of Israel Hayom from this day forward,” as a salute to the nation-state law. Later, she harshly criticized the law’s opponents, then summed up by saying, “Our assertion that the state is the nation-state of the Jewish people is another piece in the mosaic of justifications for our existence here.”

“Our existence here,” Mrs. Adelson? Haven’t you gotten a little confused? After all, you don’t live here, but in the United States, where you have been for more than 30 years. And your billionaire husband, Sheldon Adelson, has never lived here. Yet you’re talking to us about “our existence here”?

We Israelis, rightists and leftists, Jews and Arabs, women and men – we live here. Not you. You don’t live here. You don’t sweat here in the summer. You don’t get stuck in traffic jams here. You and your billionaire husband don’t even pay taxes here. We’re here, you aren’t. You don’t live with us here in any sense.

And the most significant sense in which we live here but you do not is that we here send our sons to serve in the army that’s supposed to protect our existence and our “nation state,” while you do not. After all, dear Mrs. and Mr. Adelson, you have two sons together, Adam and Matan (this article isn’t referring to Miriam Adelson’s daughters with her former, Israeli husband, Dr. Ariel Ochshorn). Both are of draft age, 20 and 22. Did you send them, like all of us do here, to serve in the Israel Defense Forces?

Has any of your readers served with them in the army or seen a picture of the adorable Adam and Matan in uniform? Or perhaps the Adelsons, being the most modest of people, sent their sons to serve in the IDF secretly? According to their Facebook pages, while our sons are serving in the armored corps, the Givati Brigade, the artillery and the paratroops, Adam and Matan Adelson are serving in elite university units – Stanford and the University of Southern California.

And perhaps – the question arises due to the picture Adam Adelson posted on his Facebook page of someone vigorously firing a paintball gun – perhaps they simply got confused, the Adelson boys, and thought they were enlisting in the Israel Defense Forces color guard? It’s possible.

Granted, under Israeli law, it’s possible that Adam and Matan Adelson – who, despite being the children of an Israeli citizen, were born abroad and have there lived all their lives – aren’t obligated to enlist. But that makes no difference whatsoever.

The fact is that Mrs. Adelson dares to talk to us about “our existence here” when we send our sons to the Israeli army and she sends her sons to American universities. Moreover, she and her husband are enthusiastic supporters, in both money and words, of Israel’s most extreme, fanatic right-wing parties and governments (for instance, Education Minister Naftali Bennett) – the ones who are leading Israel toward continued settlement, oppression of the Palestinian people and of course endless wars, in which both our sons and their sons, but not your sons, are liable to give their lives.

So how does this deal – let’s call it “a strong Israel forever” – look to you? A deal for which the Adelsons sacrifice their money while we give our children’s lives. Does that suit you?

So when your sons die to sanctify the integrity of the land, don’t cry. Go to the Adelsons. They’ll gladly give you money for the memorial.