Friday, October 4, 2013

Encourage Israeli Entrepreneurship ... In Israel!

Sir, - Idan Ofer, we are informed, has donated $40 million to the London Business School. It is of course his unquestionable right to donate his money to whatever philanthropic endeavor he chooses. Where I do feel there is room for serious questioning, however, is the reasoning provided by Ofer to justify his choice for the beneficiary of his largess. He tells us it's to "ensure that the next generation of Israeli entrepreneurs is equipped to cope with the challenges of globalization."

I beg forgiveness for my obtuseness, but I fail to understand how the gift to that institution will accomplish that admirable goal. What will have changed for Israelis after this gift that was not present before? The far more important consideration is whether a gift of this size -- if it were given to any one of Israel's own institutions of higher learning -- would not have achieved the stated goal a lot more directly. Surely an endowment of a scholarship program in Israel for gifted Israelis would be a most meaningful way to encourage future entrepreneurs.

Ironically, on the same day that news of Idan's gift was published in the Post there also appeared the news on the Front page that the Technion received a $130m grant for a joint program with a leading Chinese university. This appears to be a more likely way to achieve the understanding of globalization.

Petach Tikva

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