Irving I. Moskowitz

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Irving I. Moskowitz (born 1928, New York) is a casino magnate and a right-wing Zionist funder of neoconservative institutions and illegal Jewish settlements in the Occupied Palestinian Territories. In 1997, Time magazine described him as 'arguably the most pivotal player in the Middle East at the moment.' Moskowitz's intense Zionism is born, according to Time, of the loss by his count of 120 relatives in the Nazi Holocaust.[1]

Funding Illegal Settlements

Moskowitz has used his Irving I. Moskowitz Foundation to funnel money to right-wing Jewish settlers to colonize the occupied West Bank. In 1996, he funded the digging of a new exit to an archaeological tunnel in East Jerusalem that sparked a three-day gun battle which left 60 Palestinians and 15 Israelis dead. Since the mid-1980s he also funded the right-wing Jewish settlers colonizing Arab neighbourhoods in occupied East Jerusalem.[2]According to Time, Benjamin Netanyahu's government was concerned that the provocations would derail the ongoing delicate negotiations, and tried to squelch the project; but 'Moskowitz would not take no for an answer...Netanyahu, who wanted neither to provoke another round of unrest nor to evict Jews from any part of Jerusalem, went along.' Moskowitz personally nailed mezuzahs to the doors of the new Jewish homes. By 1997, he had spent $20 million on the enterprise. Janet Aviad of the Israeli group Peace Now called Moskowitz 'the biggest backer of Jews moving into East Jerusalem.'[1]

Tunnels as Provocation

Moskowitz, joined by other Jewish billionaires including Sandy Eisenstadt, has funded the excavation of the controversial tunnels in Jerusalem which burrow under Muslim holy sites.[3]

Fighting the Oslo accords

Moskowitz called the Oslo peace accords part of a 'slide toward concessions, surrender and Israeli suicide' which he said he was determined to stop. Palestinian Minister for Higher Education Hanan Ashrawi considered it 'unconscionable that one individual can singlehandedly hijack the peace process.' But Moskowitz defended his original plan for a settlement on Ras al-Amud arguing: 'If the peace process is incapable of digesting the presence of 50 Jewish families 860 yards from the Western Wall and barely a mile from the King David Hotel, then its fragility is indeed beyond repair.'[1]

Funding Rightwing causes


Moskowitz has reportedly funded both Benjamin Netanyahu and his predecessor Ehud Olmert (though Olmert denied this). He was a key contributor to the Third Way which became part of Netanyahu's first ruling coalition. Moskowitz maintains links with its leader, former public security minister Avigdor Kahalani.[1]


Source of Funding

The Irving I. Moskowitz Foundation's funding comes primarily from the Southern California-based Hawaiian Gardens Bingo Club, which earns up to $50 million annually and donates as much as $17 million.[2]

Stop Moskowitz

Moskowitz's attempts to thwart prospects of peace in the Middle East have inspired the Stop Moskowitz campaign which is backed by an alliance which includes Rabbis, Muslims, secular Jews, Latinos, and inter-faith groups.[5]



  • Hope Hamashige, Paul Lieberman, and Mary Curtius, 'Bingo King Aids Israeli Right Wing,' Los Angeles Times, 9 May 1996


  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 Michael S. Serrill, Lisa Beyer, Jamil Hamad, Eric Silver, and Elaine Lafferty, Israel: The Power of Money, Time, 29 September 1997
  2. 2.0 2.1 Christopher D. Cook, The Bingo Connection, Mother Jones, September/October 2000
  3. Zadok Yehezkeli, The Millionaire Behind the Tunnel, Yedioth Ahronoth, 4 October 1996
  4. Zadok Yehezkeli, The Millionaire Behind the Tunnel, Yedioth Ahronoth, 4 October 1996
  5. Who supports us,, accessed 24 October 2010