Globe Briefs June 16
Warren Buffett trying to raise $200 million in Israel Bonds
Business magnate Warren Buffett is encouraging the purchase of Israel Bonds at private events in New York.
Guests attending the events with Buffett last week pledged to buy $1 million to $5 million in Israel Bonds in order to meet the American billionaire, whose net worth of $75.6 billion makes him the second richest person in the world, according to Forbes magazine.
Buffett, CEO of the American conglomerate Berkshire Hathaway, hosted an event last November in his hometown of Omaha, Nebraska, that led to investments of $60 million in the Jewish state. Buffett also bought $5 million worth of Israel Bonds at the event.
Israel Bonds said that following Thursday’s events, Buffett was expected to have helped bring in about $200 million in bonds investments.
“Israel Bonds is proud to call Warren Buffett a friend,” Israel Maimon, president and CEO of Israel Bonds, said Monday in a statement.
“By supporting the Israel Bonds organization through these events and investing directly in Israel Bonds himself, Mr. Buffett is helping to ensure that the State of Israel will continue to prosper, and will continue to be a model of innovation and economic growth for decades to come,” Maimon added.
Buffett spoke highly of the Jewish state at the November event.
“If you are looking for brains, energy and dynamism in the Middle East, Israel is the only place you need to go,” the billionaire said.
In 2013, Buffett made the Israeli firm Iscar his first foreign acquisition, buying the remaining 20 percent of the metalworking company after having acquired 80 percent in 2006.
Later in the same year, it was announced that Buffett would donate $10 million to the Rambam Hospital in Haifa.
Museum launches campaign to translate, digitize Holocaust diaries
The U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum has launched a $250,000 Kickstarter campaign to translate and digitize the diaries of Nazi victims and survivors.
Funds from the 31-day campaign, which started on Anne Frank’s birthday — Monday, June 12 — to commemorate the renowned teen diarist, would allow the museum to translate its collection of more than 200 diaries into English and catalogue them. The museum only gets the funds it if meets its goal.
The campaign is being promoted on social media under the hashtag #SaveTheirStories.
The diary collection will expose an array of experiences to the public, including the struggle of life in the ghettos, emotional accounts of survival in concentration camps and “the search for refuge in America,” according to the museum.
“Making the evidence of the Holocaust widely available is critical to promoting its understanding and countering those who would deny it,” a museum official, Dana Weinstein, said in a statement. “With the support of people from around the world united behind this project, we will help make more voices of those persecuted by Nazism heard.”
Bipartisan bill would ensure Israel’s qualitative military edge
A bipartisan bill introduced in the U.S. House of Representatives would strengthen the processes that have ensured Israel’s qualitative military edge.
Under the legislation introduced Friday, the president would be required to consult with officials in the Israeli government about their defense needs before authorizing arms sales or defense items to countries in the Middle East.
Reps. Brad Schneider (D-Ill.) and Claudia Tenney (R-N.Y.) introduced the Defending Israel’s QME Act of 2017.
“The United States must continue to ensure that Israel, our closest, most reliable ally in the Middle East, if not the world, has the tools to maintain its qualitative military edge over those who seek to do it harm,” Schneider said.
The legislation comes as Congress is considering a possible $350 billion arms deal with Saudi Arabia that has caused U.S. and Israeli leaders to question the future of Israel’s qualitative military edge in the Middle East.
The Defending Israel’s QME Act also would expand on existing laws by including non-state actors such as the Islamic State, or ISIS, in the assessment process. The Reagan administration was the first to explicitly commit to Israel’s qualitative military edge.
“With the conflict in Syria, uncertainty regarding Iran, and the growth of ISIS, Israel faces more threats than ever and from all sides,” Tenney said in a statement. “At the same time, the country remains the region’s great democracy and our longstanding ally.
“This bill reaffirms our commitment to Israel’s security by raising the bar for future military sales to other actors in the region.”
‘Oslo,’ Bette Midler and Ben Platt take Tony Awards
“Oslo,” a play about the 1993 Oslo Accords, won the Tony Award for best new play and its Jewish lead actor, Michael Aronov, was recognized as best featured actor in a play.
Bette Midler, the veteran Jewish actress and singer, won for best actress in a musical for “Hello Dolly” as Broadway handed out its highest honors on Sunday night. The play also won for best musical revival.
“Oslo,” a J.T. Rogers play in which Israeli and Palestinian negotiators struggle to hammer out a peace deal, received rave reviews for turning a complicated history into a fast, entertaining three hours. Aronov played Uri Savir, an Israeli negotiator in the 1990s talks.
The musical “Dear Evan Hansen,” about a boy who gets caught up in a lie after the death of a classmate, was named best new musical and led the way with six Tonys, including for its star, the Jewish actor Ben Platt, as best actor in a musical, and Rachel Bay Jones for best featured actress. Benji Pasek, who is Jewish, and Justin Paul also won for best book, best orchestrations and best original score. Pasek and Paul won the Oscar this year for best original song for “La La Land.”
Rebecca Teichman won best director for “Indecent,” which recounts the bumpy journey to Broadway of Sholem Asch’s controversial Yiddish play “God of Vengeance.”