Billionaire casino magnate Sheldon Adelson donated $40 million to Birthright Israel, a hefty addition to the $120 million the Adelson Family Foundation has given the organization in recent years. Adelson and his wife Miriam are some of the most active supporters of the organization (see: the $160 million), which sends Jews between the ages of 18 and 26 on free 10-day trips to Israel.
The gift comes as Adelson, a major Republican donor, is also gearing up for the 2016 presidential elections. He spent $70 million on Mitt Romney’s 2012 campaign, and 2016 is looking like another expensive year for the Las Vegas Sands Corp. chairman and CEO. He’s already met with several potential Republican candidates, including Texas Senator Ted Cruz, and the wide field of early contenders means a tough primary season before a party nominee is named. Adelson will likely decide soon who he’ll throw his weight—and his money—behind.
Stephanie Butnick is deputy editor of Tablet Magazine and a host of the Unorthodox podcast.