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US billionaire businessman Sheldon Adelson.

According to Politico, back in 2013 casino magnate Sheldon Adelson sent a secret message to President Obama, offering to donate a billion dollars to the production of the Iron Dome anti-missile system for Israel. It happened after Congress had passed new legislation regarding the financing of Iron Dome, and Adelson contacted his Senator from Nevada, Harry Reid (D), who was also the Senate Majority Leader at the time, asking him to pass his message to the White House.

“I’ll call the president right away,” an excited Reid told Adelson, according to people with knowledge of the interaction. According to Politico, Obama was thrown off his guard momentarily—“What?!” he asked Reid. When the president regained his footing, he told the leader to thank Adelson but he didn’t think private financing of munitions would set a good precedent. The idea died.


Besides gambling on political campaigns—with poor results so far, the politicians he gives money to often lose—Sheldon Adelson is also quite the philanthropist. He donated more than $25 million to The Adelson Educational Campus in Las Vegas to build a high school. In 2006 he contributed $25 million to Yad Vashem. Since 2007, the Adelson Family Foundation has made contributions totaling $140 million to Birthright Israel, which finances Jewish youth trips to Israel. He also donated $5 million to the Friends of the IDF in 2014. Adelson has funded the Boston-based Dr. Miriam and Sheldon G. Adelson Medical Research Foundation, which initiated the Adelson Program in Neural Repair and Rehabilitation (APNRR) with $7.5 million donated to collaborating researchers at 10 universities.


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