Billionaire Roman Abramovich makes ‘8-figure donation’ to Yad Vashem
Russian-Israeli billionaire Roman Abramovich has donated several million shekels to the Yad Vashem Holocaust Memorial Museum, the museum announced Tuesday, calling it a “new long-term strategic partnership.”
“We are deeply grateful to Roman Abramovich for this generous contribution which will greatly strengthen Yad Vashem’s mission,” said Yad Vashem President Dani Dayan.
“This partnership underscores its continued dedication to Holocaust remembrance and the fight against anti-Semitism and reinforces Yad Vashem’s determination to remain the guardian of accurate and factual Holocaust remembrance,” Dayan said.
Museum spokesman Simmy Allen did not give the exact sum, but said it was an “eight-figure donation”, putting it in the tens of millions of shekels.
“With this contribution, Roman Abramovich will become Yad Vashem’s second private donor, after Miri and Sheldon Adelson,” he said.
The museum said the donation will fund the Yad Vashem International Holocaust Research Institute for a period of five years.
He said an additional donation had been made by Abramovich to fund a new building for the research center.
Abramovich is also funding the creation of two new versions of Yad Vashem’s Book of Names, in which the museum detailed the names of more than 4,800,000 Jewish men, women and children murdered by the Nazis.
“One of the new books will be on permanent display at Yad Vashem, while the second will serve as a mobile memorial exhibit, raising awareness around the world of the murder of some six million Jews during the Holocaust,” the statement said.
“Yad Vashem’s work in preserving the memory of Holocaust victims is essential to ensuring that future generations never forget what anti-Semitism, racism and hatred can lead to if we don’t speak up.” , Abramovich said, calling the donation “my privilege.” .”
Abramovich, best known internationally as the owner of the Chelsea football team, has been a controversial figure at times.
In 2018, the oligarch immigrated to Israel, instantly becoming one of the richest people in the country, with an estimated wealth of some $14 billion. The move came after he was unable to extend his UK visa amid a diplomatic row between London and Moscow.
There is no evidence Abramovich did anything wrong, but the UK has been scrutinizing Russian businessmen and diplomats more closely in recent years.
More recently, he raised eyebrows in Portugal when he claimed citizenship there under a 2015 law that repatriates descendants of Sephardic Jews expelled during the Inquisition.
A Portuguese passport allows Abramovich to live and work anywhere in the European Union. It will also potentially make it easier for him to do business in the UK.
Abramovich has reportedly donated more than $500 million in recent years to Israeli and Jewish causes, including some $100 million to fund the right-wing, pro-settlement organization Elad, which runs excavations and archaeological sites in Jerusalem. -Is and controversially buys properties in the Palestinian territories to increase the Jewish presence there.
He also spearheaded several programs against racism and anti-Semitism across the Chelsea club.