By COLlive reporter
The road to the Knesset goes through the United States and Australia.
According to campaign finance disclosure data, the right-wing political party Jewish Home (“HaBayit HaYehudi”) has benefited from the generosity of a few Chabad-connected tycoons.
Minister of the Economy and star of religious Zionists Naftali Bennett has received a donation of $10,971 to his reelection campaign from the media shy George Rohr, the New York businessman and philanthropist.
Rohr, a member of Congregation Kehilath Jeshurun, a Modern Orthodox synagogue on Manhattan’s Upper East Side, is widely known for funding the expansion of Chabad on college campuses and in the former Soviet Union, among other causes.
Another donation Bennett secured was $9,859 from Louis Mayberg, president of ProFunds (ProShares), a prominent mutual fund company based in the Washington, DC area and a supporter of American Friends of Lubavitch.
As reported on COLlive.com last month, Bennett was the guest of Shliach Rabbi Levi Shemtov at a Jewish Young Professionals Shabbos dinner at Chabad in Washington, DC., where he told of his first connection with Rohr.
Bennett’s secular ally in the religious party Ayelet Shaked has reported a $2,837 donation from none other than Rabbi Joseph Gutnick, the Lubavitcher mining industry entrepreneur who spends his time between Melbourne and Singapore.
Gutnick’s past foray into Israeli politics was bankrolling the last-minute crucial campaign “Netanyahu is good for the Jews” which secured Benjamin Netanyahu‘s first term as Prime Minister in 1996.
But while Gutnick didn’t give any donations to Bibi this time around, Netanyahu was the recipient of other frum money: $11,196 from Shlomo Yehuda Rechnitz, owner of TwinMed and Brius Healthcare Services and a known versatile philanthropist.
His uncle Bobby Rechnitz is the leader of the western division of the American Friends of Likud and a longtime personal friend and supporter of Netanyahu, according to Matzav.com.
But Shlomo Rechnitz said his motive was to encourage Netanyahu “to add the chareidim in the next government, thereby bringing back the money to the yeshivos and avreichim.”
Gutnick is also planning to make some rounds to try to influence agenda. Yossi Elituv, Editor of Mishpacha Magazine, tweeted Thursday that Gutnick “came to Israel to help strengthen the right-wing bloc and prevent loss of votes. Next week he will start a series of meetings on the subject.”