In the wake of the public outcry surrounding the payment for former U.S. President Bill Clinton’s speech, which compelled the Jewish National Fund to withdraw its financial support for the lecture, the Peres Academic Center announced Sunday it would raise the requisite funds.
Clinton is slated to deliver his speech, costing $500,000, at a gala evening at the Peres Academic Center in Rehovot next Monday, with President Shimon Peres in attendance. The JNF backed out of paying the sum after reports of the arrangement created a public stir.
“In the present public atmosphere it’s preferable not to participate in the event,” explained a JNF spokesman. The sum has already been transferred to the William J. Foundation via the Peres Center, which was in charge of the contacts with Clinton. The JNF is now supposed to get its money back from the academic center, and the association of friends of the Peres Academic Center will raise money to cover the costs.
The chairwoman of the association of friends of the Peres Center is Drorit Wertheim, daughter of businessman Mozi Wertheim, who owns the Central Bottling Company (Coca Cola Israel) and a is shareholder in Channel 2 franchisee Keshet. Among the members of the association of friends are Erez Meltzer, former CEO of Africa-Israel, and public relations expert Roni Rahav, who serves as the spokesman for the Peres Academic Center.
Read more at Haaretz.com