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Largest Theater Benefit in History to Mark Israel’s 33rd Anniversary

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The largest theater benefit party in history, with an expected attendance of some 500,000 people in 1,000 theaters in the United States and 13 other countries around the world, will celebrate the 33rd anniversary of Israel on May 11, 1981.

The first designated beneficiaries of the $100-a-ticket gala event, which is expected to raise upwards of $50 million, are Hadassah, the American Friends of The Hebrew University of Jerusalem and the American Friends of Haifa University, with others to come, according to motion picture producers Edie and Ely Landau, who conceived this event with Meshulam Riklis, chairman of the board of Rapid-American Corporation. A subsidiary of Rapid-American is funding the project.

The initial work force involved in selling the 500,000 tickets will include more than 2,000 local chapters of Hadassah, ORT and Friends of The Hebrew and Haifa Universities, according to the Landaus. Each organization will benefit from its own sales efforts, retaining 80 percent of each $100 ticket sold, remitting 20 percent to Rapid-American until it has recouped all funds advanced for the project. Thereafter, 100 percent of all proceeds will be retained by the beneficiary organizations.

The focal point of the 33rd anniversary gala event will be the exclusive world premiere of the motion picture version of “The Chosen,” based on the best-selling novel by Chaim Potok. Maxi-milian Schell, Rod Steiger, Robby Benson and Barry Miller star in the film, under the direction of Jeremy Paul Kagan.

The nation’s leading motion picture theater chains will cooperate in putting together the 1,000 participating cinemas, the Landaus said A motion picture theater committee has been set up with Henry Plitt, chairman and chief executive officer of Plitt Theaters, the nation’s third largest motion picture exhibition chain, as its chairman.

The May 11 benefit marks what is believed to be the first time that a group of organizations supporting various and diverse educational institutions based in Israel will be joining forces in such a cooperative effort.

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