a different side of Israel

Much Ado About Arkadi

Eilat Vacation provided by Arkadi
Arkadi Gaydamak has once again opened his ‘purse strings’ to help alleviate the suffering of people affected by war and terrorism. His funding of vacations in Eilat for residents of the southern Israel town of Sderot is met by praise by some and anger by others. What is very interesting is that many of the angry reactions seem to be coming from the Israeli government, and not from the people he has offered to help. This kind gesture on the part of Gaydamak is reminiscent of the tent city he erected during the Lebanon II war to shelter Israelis who fled the country’s northern sections bombarded by more than 6,000 Hezbollah launched katusha rockets This act also resulted in government criticism, for the simple reason that Prime Minister Olmert seemed incapable of providing this kind of assistance during the war’s first two weeks of occurrence.

Why is the criticism being levied against this man, especially since he is paying for this gesture himself and appears more than willing to assist his fellow Israelis with whose lot he has decided to join? Other philanthropists will more likely get on the bandwagon as well and offer assistance that the Israeli government appears unable or unwilling to provide. Those who criticize Sderot residents for taking up Gaydamak’s kind offer are most likely people who do not live in either Sderot or surrounding areas, as well as in Israel’s north, which is still recovering from last summer’s war. The only conclusion that can be drawn is that those not in favor of Mr. G’s largess, including government officials like Defense Minister Amir Peretz, himself a former resident of Sderot, is that they are jealous and even envious of the Russian Billionaire who’s presence here seems to become more pronounced as time goes by.

Other wealthy people, including former Knesset member Sammy Flatto-Sharon, have been accused in the past of trying to “buy” their way into Israeli politics as well as perhaps ‘whitewashing’ their pasts; which may have included acquiring much of their wealth by not so acceptable means. So is this feeling with Arkadi Gaydamak as well, with many thinking in that old ‘Shtettel’ mentality: ” Nu, vhat does this ‘boychik ‘ vhant to do?”. If he really does want to enter Israeli politics, he’s off to a good start, as many will remember his kind gestures.

At least Gaydamak has the resources to help people as compared to those like former peace activist Abie Nathan who ruined his health and went virtually bankrupt with various projects to help humanity, both in Israel and in other places world-wide. It is certain that many applaud Gaydamak for his kindness. And if Israeli politicians do have a ‘beef’ concerning Gaydamak’s activities, and think they have a better idea to give assistance to people in need, especially those living in traumatized places like Sderot, then let them come forth and put their money where their mouth is.


  1. I hope to see many more following suit.

  2. The Israeli Government (i.e. Ehud Olmert) could only comment
    that how can this man (Gaydamak) encourage people to flee Sderot?

    I’d like to see Olmert move down there in a gesture of solidarity.

    I bet he wouldn’t even think about doing this. Neither would his
    (former) associate Amir Peretz, who comes from that fair Town..
    For Peretz anyway, it really doesn’t matter since his present political misfortunes may eventually send him back there.

  3. I would Mr.Arkadi Gaydamak to invest in Sierra Leone especially in the Iron Ore and Diamond industry.We stop mining Iron Ore since 1975.If interested contact me on my mobile number 0544-281329.

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