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Joseph Abruzzo

Joseph Abruzzo is the overseer of investments for Florida’s largest county, Palm Beach, and holds $700 million out of his country’s $4.6 billion portfolio in Israel bonds.

Abruzzo, 44, is a Democratic politician who holds the independently elected position of Clerk of the Circuit Court and Comptroller for Palm Beach County, an office established by the Florida Constitution. Before he was elected Clerk, Abruzzo spent ten years serving in the Florida House of Representatives and the Florida Senate.


Abruzzo has allocated 15% of the county’s investment portfolio to Israel bonds, which is the maximum permissible under county policy. This total accounts for approximately one-fourth of all Israel bonds purchased since October 7. With its sizable Jewish population, Palm Beach County now holds the largest quantity of Israel bonds globally, surpassing all other individual holders worldwide.

Abruzzo is not Jewish, and claims he has been buying such enormous amounts of Israeli debt not for ideological reasons but because this is the best investment of his county’s funds. But he also admits his support for Israel.

“I am proud to stand with what I consider our greatest ally in the entire world – Israel,” Abruzzo told JTA this month. “With that said, these are incredibly safe investments. They’re making an incredible return for county taxpayers and it made perfect sense for us from a fiduciary standpoint.”

According to a report from WPTV on May 14th, a group of Palm Beach County residents filed a lawsuit against the county government over its investment in Israeli bonds. Between 50 to 100 concerned citizens assembled outside the county courthouse to protest the use of private and public funds for purchasing these bonds. “We discovered that these bonds carry a high risk of not generating a return,” stated Palm Beach County resident Lydia S., “which means the $700 million invested may not be recovered by Palm Beach County.”

Israel has never defaulted in the payment of principal or interest on any of its internal or external debt, but prospective purchasers are warned of sovereign credit risk, which is the risk of a government becoming unwilling or unable to meet its loan obligations.

According to the Financial Times, which cited Israel’s finance ministry, Israel sold $8 billion in traditional international US dollar bonds in March. This offering received orders totaling $38 billion, attracting around 400 different investors from approximately 36 countries. Additionally, Israel’s regular local currency borrowings amounted to 12.25 billion shekels ($3.3 billion) in scheduled sales for May. However, Israel Bonds have been increasing as a proportion of the overall debt issuance.

Regarding the lawsuit, Abruzzo’s office provided the following statement to WPTV:

“Palm Beach County has a strong, diversified portfolio designed to protect taxpayers’ investment. Investments are governed by the County’s Investment Policy and Florida law. The county’s investment in Israel Bonds will generate significant returns for Palm Beach County while safeguarding taxpayer money. Our office has a proven track record of delivering significant investment returns for Palm Beach County residents, including a record $172 million in investment income for taxpayers in Fiscal Year 2023.”

The clerk’s office expressed confidence that the lawsuit would be dismissed, with Abruzzo stating, “While we have not seen the lawsuit yet, we expect this frivolous case will be quickly dismissed with prejudice.”

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