JERUSALEM (JTA) – More than 90 percent of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s re-election funds have come from the United States.
Of the total contributions of nearly $259,000 – slightly over 1 million shekels – about $237,000 came from American donors, according to records made public by Israel’s State Comptroller and first published by BuzzFeed. Three wealthy families donated about half the amount from the Americans.
Israeli politicians may accept a maximum donation of about $11,500.
The three families are the Falics of Florida, owners of the Duty Free Americas stores found in airports; the Books of New Jersey, owners of Jet Support Services, Inc.; and the Schottensteins of Ohio, owners of the American Eagle clothing chain.
Others who donated the maximum amount included Shlomo Reichnitz of Los Angeles, Richard Heideman of Bethesda, Md., David Simon of Indiana and John Kruger of New Jersey, according to the comptroller’s records.
Most of the donations came in the last two months of 2014. Netanyahu called for the dissolution of Knesset and new elections in early December.
“There is a well-established network in the U.S. through the group American Friends of the Likud, which is connected to people who care about Israel and its future,” an unnamed Likud Party campaign adviser told BuzzFeed.