Billionaire Sheldon Adelson pledged $25 million to birthright israel. The money will allow the organization to double the number of free trips to Israel that it offers Jewish youth this summer, bringing the total to 20,000. The gift is being made by the Adelson Family Charitable Foundation, founded recently by the majority owner of the Las Vegas Sands Corp., and his wife, Dr. Miriam Adelson. According to a birthright spokesman, the foundation anticipates making similar $25 million gifts for the next several years. In December, the Adelson foundation gave $5 million to birthright to pay for 2,000 free trips for Jews aged 18 to 26. Adelson, whose net worth was estimated in September at $20.5 billion, is America’s third wealthiest man behind Bill Gates and Warren Buffet. Birthright estimates that 80,000 to 100,000 Jews worldwide are eligible for its trips each year. The birthright waiting list has about 38,000 names, according to the president of the Birthright Israel Foundation, Jay Golan. “The birthright israel programs is one of the best ideas our time has seen because it has the greatest potential for establishing Jewish continuity,” Adelson said.
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