(JTA) — Casino magnate Sheldon Adelson and his wife, Miriam, will donate a total of $25 million to Ariel University in the West Bank settlement.
The Adelsons, major givers to Jewish causes including Birthright Israel, will donate $5 million to develop the university’s School of Medical and Health Sciences. They also intend to donate another $20 million to expand the program once the required government approvals are obtained, the university said in a statement.
Approximately 1,200 students are enrolled in the medical school in a student population of about 14,000 students at the university, according to Arutz Sheva. The school also plans to establish a regional medical center serving the local Jewish and Arab populations.
It is the Adelson’s first donation to an institution outside Israel’s 1967 borders, according to Haaretz.
“All my years in business have taught me that when a crack opens up in one place you don’t just need to seal it, you need to strengthen the entire wall, and sometimes the entire building,” Sheldon Adelson said in the university statement.
“The many attacks on settlement in Judea and Samaria are connected to the long struggle against the State of Israel since its founding, and even before that,” he said. “The donation to Ariel University is about building a Zionist wall in place of the crack.”
Miriam Adelson told Arutz Sheva that the contribution “comes from a belief in the ability of Ariel University to serve as an academic center of excellence in the heart of Israel and to be a bridge between the parts of the nation, and between us and the Arabs of Samaria.
“We also wanted to strengthen the settlers in Judea and Samaria, and express appreciation and gratitude for their pioneering spirit, their everyday Zionism,” she added. “This, against the backdrop of the ongoing campaign against Israel in general and the settlement enterprise in particular, and the boycott calls being sounded against them from radical parts of the world.”