The Slatest

Ninety Percent of Benjamin Netanyahu’s Campaign Money Comes From the United States

Netanyahu with fellow members of the Likud party.

Baz Ratner/Reuters

A BuzzFeed piece by Sheera Frankel notes that 90 percent of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s campaign funding comes from United States donors—and, astoundingly, more than half of the money supporting his current campaign was given by just three American families:

The vastly wealthy Falic family of Florida, owners of the Duty Free Americas airport shops as well as several high-end fashion brands, have been one of the most consistent donors to Netanyahu’s campaign. Four members of that family were Netanyahu’s top contributors, with each giving close to the maximum of $11,500 per donor. Closely following them were the Book family of New Jersey, owners of Jet Support Systems, with four members each contributing $11,000 each, and the Schottenstein family, owners of the American Eagle fashion chain, whose four members donated $10,000 each.

All three familes have other Israel connections and are active donors to Jewish causes. The Falics are well-known for donating to rightward-leaning Israeli initiatives; the Zionist Organization of America called family patriarch Fima Falic “a great Jewish patriot.” Members of the Book family were honored at a 2013 New York City gala celebrating “Jewish life” that was also attended by Elie Wiesel, while Jet Support Systems CEO Neil Book is on the advisory board of an Israeli security company connected to the Israel Defense Forces. The Schottensteins have funded an archeology center in Jerusalem and a program at Yeshiva University.

It’s illegal in the United States to solicit or receive campaign donations from foreigners.