Bingo for Bulldozers: "Charity" Funds Illegal Israeli Settlements
Each dollar spent on bingo by the mostly Latino residents of Hawaiian Gardens, on the outskirts of Los Angeles, helps fund Jewish settlements on Palestinian land in some of the most sensitive areas of occupied East Jerusalem, particularly the Muslim quarter of the old city, and West Bank towns such as Hebron where the Israeli military has forced Arabs out of their properties in their thousands.
Over the past 20 years, the bingo hall has funnelled tens of millions of dollars in to what its opponents — including rabbis serving the Hawaiian Gardens area — describe as an ideologically-driven strategy to grab land for Israel, as well as contributing to influential American groups and thinktanks backing Israel's more hawkish governments.
But the bingo operation, owned by an American Jewish doctor and millionaire, Irving Moskowitz..."is taking millions from the poorest town in California and sending it to the settlements," said Haim Dov Beliak, a rabbi serving Hawaiian Gardens and one of the Jewish religious leaders in California who have campaigned to block the flow of funds to the settlers.
"The money Moskowitz puts in to the settlements has changed the game." Moskowitz has helped build a hardcore of the settler movement that may number 50-70,000.
Moskowitz is an 80-year-old retired doctor and orthodox Jewish millionaire who built a fortune buying and selling hospitals. In 1988 he also bought the faltering bingo hall in Hawaiian Gardens which, under California law, can only be run as not-for-profit operation so Moskowitz brought it under the wing of a charitable foundation he had established in his own name.
...Beliak calculates that the foundation has given Jewish settlers well over £100m, beginning with the construction 20 years ago of 133 houses on land confiscated from Palestinians by the Israeli government....Now Moskowitz is building a much bigger bingo hall in Hawaiian Gardens which will increase the flow of cash.
Beliak is particularly angered that the fundraising takes place without interference from the American authorities. In contrast, he says, Muslim charities which raise money to help Palestinians have been targeted for investigation, shut down and some of their administrators jailed because providing welfare to Gaza indirectly helps Hamas.