Backing Israel – U.S. impact

A new study finds that American governmental and charitable aid has hurt Israel’s economic growth in recent decades, and calls for revamping American-Jewish philanthropy in Israel, the Jerusalem Post reported June 28.

Since 1948, Israel has received $80 billion from public and private sources in the U.S., causing problems for the nation’s economy, said the report, “The Impact of American Jewry on the Israeli Economy.”

“The funds allowed Israelis to live beyond their means,” said Warren Young, a professor of economics at Bar-Ilan University who wrote the report for the Dorothy and Julius Koppelman Institute on American Jewish-Israeli Relations of the American Jewish Committee and the Argov Center at Bar-Ilan University.

Young said American support was critical during Israel’s early years but hampered private-sector activity over the past 25 years, the Post said.

The private sector “would have increased even more if not for the artificial rise in the standard of living and expansion of the public sector resulting from American-Jewish philanthropic contributions giving in addition to U.S. aid,” the report said.

It said a lack of accountability was the biggest problem with philanthropic aid, which totaled at least $11 billion from 1948 to 1999, the Post said.

“The American-Jewish community should demand accountability,” Young told the Post. “Philanthropic aid needs to be earmarked for specific projects.”

He said aid should be restructured to reflect the priorities of Jews in the U.S. in coordination with the Israeli government – and should be directed to specific organizations such as hospitals, universities and other charities, the Post said.

For full story, go to the Jerusalem Post.

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