Donors Bet on Two Horses in Labor Race

Several business magnates donated to two different campaigns in the Labor primaries held this week.

The maximum contribution per candidate is NIS 40,000. Each candidate was allowed to raise up to NIS 2 million. The five candidates raised NIS 6.2 million altogether.

Some contributors put down more money with candidates possessing better chances of making it to the second round of voting based on the polls.

The top two in securing money placed in the same order as in the vote: Ehud Barak led fund-raising efforts with NIS 1.93 million, just ahead of Ami Ayalon at NIS 1.89 million. In contrast, Danny Yatom came in third in fund-raising at NIS 1.15 million but finished last in the voting. Ophir Pines-Paz came in fourth place in both races, raising NIS 921,000. Third-place vote getter Amir Peretz raised a paltry NIS 250,000.

Ehud Barak recruited 68 contributors, including a significant number from abroad. His supporters include Jonathan Kolber, who gave the maximum NIS 40,000. Contributors of NIS 36,000 include Harel Wizel of Israeli fashion company Fox; Alony Hetz Properties and Investments founder Nathan Hetz (NIS 36,000); Dan Hotels chair Michael Federman; Fiat, Kia and Alfa Romeo importer Michael Levy; and Mozi Wertheim.

Ayalon recruited 87 contributors and also found supporters from abroad. Morris Kahn, who became a billionaire investing in software firm Amdocs, gave him the maximum NIS 40,000. Other campaign donors include Israel Prize winner and Delta fashion owner Dov Lautman (NIS 36,000), Strauss Elite's Raya Strauss (NIS 36,472) and Charles Bronfman (NIS 20,000).

Peretz ended up with just 17 contributors, including four from abroad. Only two donated the limit. He also received NIS 35,000 from Avi Shaked, who owns Internet gambling company 888. Minister Raleb Majadele contributed NIS 12,500, deputy minister Ephraim Sneh gave NIS 4,000, and Peretz's election campaign head, MK Yoram Marciano, pitched in NIS 3,500.

Danny Yatom received contributions from 76 people both here and abroad. Media tycoon and Maariv owner Vladimir Gusinsky contributed NIS 36,000, while Wizel ponied up NIS 27,000.

Pines-Paz managed the broadest support - 116 contributors, many of them from abroad. Gazit Globe's Haim Katzman gave NIS 40,000, while Dov Lautman added in NIS 20,000. He received NIS 10,000 from each of Avi Tiomkin, Shlomo Dovrat, Yigal Arnon and Ashdod real estate entrepreneur Jackie Ben Zaken