I recently wrote as piece on Billionaire Bernie Marcus for this blog.
A quick google search reveals more on Bernie Marcus than did the Jerusalem Post article previously cited.
It now seems that in addition to his substantial gift to the city of Atlanta toward the Georgia Aquarium, google reaveals more about Mr. Marcus’ Israel Philanthropy.
The Jewish Virtual Library bio on him shows how the Israel Democracy Institute “… accumulates information on legislation passed in other countries and advises the Israeli government whether or not to implement it.” With the level of self-interest and self-aggrandizement inherent in any government economic decision in Israel, I hope that the kindness of Mr. Marcus in establishing such an Institute and trying to impact on bringing good, intelligent decision making to Israel was/is not in vain.
The IsraelFree website shows that Mr. Marcus is sizeable donor to the Taglit-Birthright Israel program, a program which I think highly of. Birthright provides many young Jewish people, who might otherwise never have in-person, hands-on exposure to Israel and her people, with this opportunity. We won’t talk about another donor to the program, Marc Rich (the former fugitive from justice that Ehud Barak pulled all kinds of strings to get former President Clinton to pardon at the end of his Presidential term).
But all of this does not address my questions re: whether Mr. Marcus supports, or even knows about Manhigut Yehudit and whether or not, in a Torah-based government, the Israel Democracy Institute might have a more positive impact on sane governmental decision-making, or whether whether or not Mr. Marcus would provide philanthropic assistance to the Gush Katif Refugee families, such as the Chazani family and their 30,000 NIS burial hit.
Having written these two pieces, it seems obvious that Bernie Marcus’ heart is in the right place. I just hope that he and other mega-philanthropists come to realize that their chessed is best used to perfect Israel and the Jewish people once the cancer of how the government here runs is rooted out, gutted and replaced by true Torah ethics.