“Israel is not just a state but also a state of mind,” says Howard L. Goldstein, National and International Board Chairman of Israel Bonds. Growing up in poverty in New Jersey, Goldstein knew little about Israel. But years later, when he moved to Florida as a young professional with his wife, he decided to connect with the Jewish state. “I thought it was important, and everything you read, whether it’s a siddur (prayerbook) or whether it’s an article about anything Jewish, it’s always about Jerusalem; it’s always about the land of Israel. It’s always about the words Am Yisrael Chai (the people of Israel live), and I wanted to connect like that.”
Goldstein became active in Israel Bonds and took his first trip to Israel almost forty years ago. “That first visit implanted the importance of Israel in his DNA, he says, and since then, Goldstein has devoted a great deal of his time and efforts to Israel Bonds.
“For Jews in the Diaspora, the biggest conflict that we have is that we don’t live in Israel. I appreciate Israel. I love it. I embrace it. I nurture it as much as I can. But Israel Bonds gives me the ability to make an economic aliyah to Israel. I can make an investment in Israel. I can do something on behalf of Israel, sitting right here in Miami.”
For the Jewish world, October 7 marked the end of one period and the beginning of an entirely different state of mind. “By the close of business on Friday afternoon, October 6, we had hit the billion-dollar mark in sales of Israel Bonds,” says Goldstein. While Israel Bonds had reached that number for most of the past ten years, this was the earliest date that the organization had reached that milestone.
“But then you wake up in the morning on Shabbat, October 7,” he recalls, “and now we have a war. I’ve been through intifadas, but I’ve never been in a war.” Israel Bonds President and CEO, Dani Naveh, along with Bonds’ leadership, immediately responded by creating an emergency war campaign to support Israel’s efforts in the war. In the first four weeks after the war, Israel Bonds secured an additional $1 billion in investments, which included more than 15 U.S. state and municipal governments and institutions.
By the end of 2023, Israel Bonds had surpassed $2.7 billion in worldwide investments, a record-breaking total in the organization’s 72-year history, more than doubling its average annual sales.
Of the 2023 $2.7 billion investments, more than $2.3 billion came from U.S. investors, of which over $1.1 billion were investments by states, local governments, and other financial institutions. This year, Israel Bonds also reached the milestone of $50 billion in global investments since the organization’s founding in 1951.
“Israel Bonds demonstrated its strength as a meaningful powerhouse and a reliable resource for the State of Israel, especially in the crucial months following the onset of the Israel-Hamas war, and will continue the campaign in full force throughout 2024,” says Naveh.
While some of the purchasers of Israel bonds during this emergency period have been veteran supporters of Israel, many were new investors who had never before purchased an Israel bond and wanted to support Israel in its hour of need.
“Recruiting new leaders is not only essential; it’s a mandate for us all. The key to our success is how we groom our successors. If we don’t accomplish that goal, one day in the not-too-distant future, we won’t exist. Our community’s future prosperity, and even its survival, hinges on recruiting new leaders to participate in the most direct and impactful way to support Israel.” Goldstein adds that “it’s about being involved in something and standing for something. The path to leadership flows from that desire, intent, commitment, and passion.”
Commenting on the phenomenon of increasing antisemitism, Goldstein says that it was always present, but it wasn’t as aggressive as it is today. “I think that people who are protesting on college campuses are not educated as to what Israel stands for. I think some of this has become fashionable with younger people.” The task of Jewish leaders, in his view, is to get more Jewish people in the Diaspora involved. “My raison d’être is to get them engaged. Get them to educate people on the campus; get them to talk to the board of trustees at colleges. Major Jewish donors to universities, he suggests, can make their donation conditional on the university’s support of Israel. Its education of the young people, its education of the powers that be at the board level, at the contribution level, and at the alumni level.”
On October 7, says Goldstein, Israel changed and will never be the same as it was on October 6. And, he adds, “any Jew in the Diaspora, whether they know it or they haven’t realized it, has also paradigm-shifted to something new by October 7.”
Buying Israel bonds, he says, not only benefits the state of Israel and its citizens but also those who purchase the bonds. “Someone came up to me,” he relates, and said, ‘We bought an Israel bond.’ I said thank you so much. And then I asked them, ‘Why did you buy the bond?’ And they said, ‘We want to give to the people of Israel. We want to give to the citizens of Israel. We want to give to Eretz Israel.’ And I said, “Well, that’s a lot of it. But I think the other reason why you bought an Israel bond is that you got just as much for you and your family in the Diaspora as you did for Israel. Because without Israel, we in the Diaspora are going to be withering and frail and could become non-existent. So that’s why you buy it—as much for you and your family as for the citizens in the great state of mind of Israel.”
Development Corporation for Israel/Israel Bonds (“DCI”) is a broker-dealer that sells Israel Bonds. The content in this article was prepared by DCI and the Jerusalem Post as part of an advertising campaign for DCI. This is not an offering which can be made only by prospectus. Read the prospectus carefully before investing to fully evaluate the risks associated with investing in Israel bonds. Member FINRA.