UK Friends of IDC

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The UK Friends of IDC is a British charity set up to raise funds for the Interdisciplinary Center Herzliya (IDC), a private Israeli college based just north of Tel Aviv that has close links to Israeli intelligence and the high-tech industry.

Related organisations include the American Friends of IDC, founded in 1998, and the International Friends of IDC, established in 2013. IDC literature indicates that there are also ‘Friends of IDC’ branches in Israel, France Germany and Hong Kong.

According to the UK Charity Commission, the UK Friends of IDC was founded by British solicitor and businessman Gordon Hausmann, who is currently listed as a trustee along with his wife Ruth Hausmann, David M. Cohen, president of the United Jewish Israel Appeal, and finally Smadar Cohen.[1]


The UK Friends of IDC was created by a Deed of Trust, dated 7 October 2002,[2] and registered with the UK Charity Commission on 4 April 2003 under the number 1096858, operating throughout England, Wales and Israel.[3]

The objectives of the charity are as follows: ‘To advance or assist in the advancement of the charitable educational aims, objects and activities of the IDC through or in association with the IDC to promote or assist in promoting such charitable purpose or purposes connected with the advancement of education whether in the United Kingdom, State of Israel, or elsewhere and in such proportion and manner as the trustees shall in their absolute discretion from time to time determine. Notwithstanding the generality of sub clause 4.1 the trustees may pay or apply at the trustees discretion the income or such part or parts of the capital of the trust in promoting or assisting in the promotion of such objects and activities as are exclusively charitable (as defined herein) and primarily to advance education.’[4]


Information on the different activities of the UK Friends of IDC, mostly social events, can occasionally be found in past college newsletters; however, the activities of the American branch of the organisation are regularly featured in more detail.

The most recent mention is in the Winter 2014 edition. A photograph of Gordon Hausmann with Jonathan Davis, the vice president for External Relations of IDC and head of the graduate programme Raphael Recanati International School, appears under the headline ‘UK Friends of IDC Going Strong’. The newsletter reports that to celebrate the college’s 20th anniversary, ‘IDC Herzliya will be holding events throughout the year, culminating in a global mission that will bring a diverse delegation of International Friends to Israel in May.’

In March 2010, the UK Friends of IDC held an event at the home of Amnon and Malka Lion, who are described in one newsletter as being ‘among the pillars of the pro-Israel publicity efforts in London’.[5] Together they established the Israel Business Club in London. Amnon Lion co-founded the shipping management company Zodiac Maritime Agencies Ltd. along with the late Sammy Ofer, formerly one of the richest men in Israel.[6] Amnon also served as the director of the Jewish National Fund, an organisation that has played a primary role in the acquisition of Palestinian land throughout the last century,[7] and was granted an honorary fellowship of IDC in 2012. Professor Uriel Reichman, who is the president and founder of IDC, gave a speech at the Lion’s home, as well as Asaf Tzachor, an IDC alumnus and graduate student at Oxford University.[8]

Among the people Professor Uriel Reichman and VP Jonathan Davis met with in London on this trip included: Baron David Alliance, an Iranian born British millionaire businessman and Liberal Democrat politician;[9] David Lewis, the former Lord Mayor of the City of London; Ron Prosor, Israel’s former ambassador to the UK and current ambassador to the UN; Yariv Cohen, the chairman of Kaenaat, a London-based investment firm; Jacob Agam, founder of the global private equity firm the Vertical Group; Felix Posen, a British-based businessman turned philanthropist who lost a considerable part of his fortune in the Bernard Madoff scandal;[10] Sir Paul Judge, an English businessman and political figure; and Maurice Helfgott, the son of a British Olympian and chairman of Oliver Sweeney, which trades in luxury footwear.[11]

In October 2009, another event for IDC was held in London at the home of ‘avid IDC supporters’ Linda and Stephen Plant, who had attended a gala honouring Israeli President Shimon Peres the previous year.[12] Two of IDC’s Ethiopian students recounted their ‘Zionistic stories’ for the guests and trustee David M. Cohen discussed the UK-Israel link. Certificates were given to the supporters of the Ethiopian Programme at IDC Herzliya.[13]

In February 2008, London welcomed Professor Uriel Reichman and Jonathan Davis when they visited with IDC supporters and friends. Ron Prosor hosted an evening in honour of IDC with the assistance of long time supporters Yigal Zilkha, the founder of Queenco Leisure International, a developer, owner and operator of casinos and resorts, and his wife Shirly.

Two other dinner parties were organised during this visit: one by Mimi Perlman, board member of the Open University of Israel Foundation in New York; and the other by Sol and Adi Zakai. Meetings were held between Uriel Reichman and Jonathan Davis with the following: Amnon and Malka Lion; trustee David Cohen; Yossi Hachmi, an Israeli insurance industry millionaire who is now based in London, and his sister Nitza Kanferl; Uri Nachoom, vice chairman of the merchant banking outfit Salamanca Group; and others.[14]

During the summer, Uriel Reichman and Jonathan Davis visited London and met with Uri Nachoom; Henry Sweetbaum, founder and trustee of the International Centre for the Study of Radicalisation and Political Violence; Martin Paisner CBE, a London-based lawyer who is ‘a cherished benefactor of IDC Herzliya’; trustees David and Smadar Cohen and Gordon Hausmann; Amnon and Malka Lion, Neville Shulman CBE, a British explorer and Hollywood film consultant, and his wife Emma; Eyal Ofer, the principal of Zodiac Group and son of late businessman Sammy Ofer; Mimi Perlman; Felix Posen, Ariel Kor, the executive director of Sampoerna Capital, the family office of one of Asia's most prominent financial families; Sol and Adi Zakai; and the outgoing Israeli Ambassador to the UK, Zvi Heifetz.[15]

In January 2007, the UK Friends of IDC held a cocktail reception at the residence of the former Israeli Ambassador to London, Zvi Heifetz, and his wife Sigalia. Professor Amnon Rubinstein, an Israeli lawyer and former Knesset member, and VP Jonathan Davis reportedly addressed a large crowd of about 100 distinguished guests, who were also entertained by ‘prodigy pianist’ Matan Porat. Attendees included: Eyal Ofer; Malka and Amnon Lion; trustees Smadar Cohen, Ruth and Gordan Hausmann; Bat-Sheva Zisser, an Israeli vocalist and actress; Shmuel Zisser, a British real estate developer; Sir Stanley Burnton, a British lawyer and former Lord Justice of Appeal; and Uri and Gina Nachoom. The evening was organised by Shirly and Yigal Zilkha, ‘long time supporters of IDC Herzliya’.

During this visit, Amnon Rubinstein and Jonathan Davis held a series of meetings with Martin Paisner; Lord Harry Woolf of Barnes, former Lord Chief Justice of England and Wales; the late Sir Bernard Shrier, an industrial millionaire entrepreneur and hotelier; trustee David Cohen; Isaac Kaye, a British-based venture capitalist and philanthropist; and Henry Sweetbaum.[16]

In 2003, IDC’s founder Professor Uriel Reichman travelled to London and ‘spoke before the Israel Business Club’ and ‘met with IDC supporters and alumni during the trip aimed at establishing a board of directors for the [UK] Friends of IDC.’[17]


As of 24 July 2009, UK Friends of IDC had not filed any information with the UK Charity Commission,[18] and its accounts were 1727 days overdue[2] Subsequently, the charity started to report its accounts more regularly, which are as follows:

Income and spending for the UK Friends of IDC in £ sterling[19]
Year 2005 2006 2007 2008 2009 2010 2011 2012
Income £123,615 £122,999 £141,226 £147,316 £175,320 £193,582 £116.596 £127.929
Spending £111,589 £130,944 £148,143 £147,590 £132,461 £227,887 £86,421 £130,540

According to the Charity Commission’s other records:

The R and S Cohen Foundation reveals that it donated £3,150 to UK Friends of IDC in 2005 and £10,350 in 2006. The R and S Cohen Foundation is a charity set up by the British millionaire financier and Labour Party donor, Ronald Cohen.

The Mintz Family Foundation, also known as Family Foundations Trust, a grant making charity run by Richard Mintz, donated £5,000 in 2009, 2010 and 2011.

The Catkin Pussywillow Charitable Trust, which is dedicated to issues of poverty, health, religion and education, donated £10,000 in 2011.

The Rubin Report, a blog run by Barry Rubin before he died in February 2014, and which is connected to the Global Research in International Affairs (GLORIA) Centre, located at the IDC and directed by Rubin, solicits UK-based donations to be sent to the UK Friends of IDC.[20]


In the 2009 winter newsletter, the IDC singled out the following supporters in London who “never fail to make us feel at home and who share our cause for academic excellence: David and Smadar Cohen, Malka and Amnon Lion, Linda and Stephen Plant, Shirly and Yigal Zilkha, Martin Paisner, Gina and Uri Nachoom, Nitza Kanfer, Gordon Hausmann and Ruth Hausmann, Emma and Neville Shulman, Ezra Atia, Mimi Perlman, Isaac Kaye and Adi and Sol Zakai” and Poju Zabludowicz, a London-based billionaire who has generously funded the Conservative Party in the UK and the Conservative Friends of Israel.[21]


Interdisciplinary Center Herzliya
American Friends of the IDC


  1. Charity Commission UK Friends of IDC. Accessed 17 April 2014.
  2. 2.0 2.1 Charity commission UK Friends of IDC. Screengrab created 24 July 2009, 16:25.
  3. Charity Commission website (accessed 17 April 2014)
  4. Total Giving charity directory (accessed 17 April 2014)
  5. IDC Herzliya winter 2013 update
  6. See Idan Ofer Forbes profile of his son (accessed 17 April 2014)
  7. See the Wikipedia entry for the Jewish National Fund (accessed 17 April 2014)
  8. IDC Herzliya spring 2011 update
  9. Antonia Feuchtwanger, "Maestro of mail-order: Sir David Alliance," The Independent, 16 October 1994
  10. See Lior Dattel, “Posen Foundation hit by Madoff fraud,Haaretz, 8 January 2009
  11. The IDC Herzliya spring 2011 update
  12. See “British Jews pay tribute to Shimon Peres,The Jewish Community Online, 27 November 2008
  13. The IDC Herzliya winter 2009 update [1]
  14. The IDC Herzliya spring 2008 update
  15. The IDC Herzliya winter 2008 update
  16. The IDC Herzliya spring 2007 update
  17. The IDC Herzliya 2003-2004 update
  18. Confirmed by the UK Charity Commission by telephone on 24 July 2009
  19. All data taken from the UK Charity Commission website (accessed 17 April 2014)
  20. Rubin Report blogsite (accessed 17 April 2014)
  21. The IDC Herzliyan winter 2009 update