Sir Isaac Wolfson Stimulates Interest of U.S. Bankers in Israel

A number of non-Jewish, American bankers and industrialists are giving serious consideration to becoming members of the board of governors of the Industrial Development Bank of Israel, Ltd. This was learned here today as Sir Isaac Wolfson, British financier and philanthropist with vast investments in Israel, completed a three-week visit to the United States. Membership on the board of governors of the Industrial Development Back of Israel, Ltd., is obtainable only by those who invest a minimum of $1,300,000 in the company.

Sir Isaac’s three-week visit had brought him into intimate contact with many of the leading bankers and industrialists in this country, particularly in New York, Chicago and Los Angeles. The British visitor, who is a leader in Jewish religious affairs in his country, also used the occasion to confer in this country with leading American Jewish religious and communal leaders. Sir Isaac is president of the United Synagogue, the central organization of Ashkenazic congregations in Great Britain. He is also senior warden of the Central Synagogue of London, and a devoted observer of Orthodoxy.

Banking circles here have reported that Sir Isaac’s contacts with finance and industry in the United States have resulted in greatly increased interest in Israeli investments. In all his meetings, Sir Isaac advocated that American financiers follow his personal example which, he noted, showed solid confidence in the monetary value of Israeli investments. In addition to his many philanthropic, educational and cultural interests in Israel, Sir Isaac has invested tens of millions of dollars in Israeli enterprises. Among the latter are, in addition to the Industrial Bank, oil and chemical firms, real estate development, the Export Bank and Bank Leumi.

More than 100 prominent New York Jews, including many leading rabbis, attended a reception yesterday afternoon at “Gracie Mansion”–the official residence of the Mayor of New York in honor of Sir Isaac. Mayor Robert F. Wagner, who has been suffering from a severe case of influenza, left his sick bed to attend the event.

Sir Isaac was honored by the Mayor as a “world citizen.” In presenting the city’s official medallion to him, Mayor Wagner lauded him particularly for his work on behalf of the World Academy of Jerusalem. The Mayor and other participants in the ceremonies noted that Sir Isaac recently made possible the completion of the central building of the Emet World Academy in Jerusalem, which will be known as the Chief Rabbi Herzog Memorial Building.

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