By Cliff Peale
The Cincinnati Enquirer
Jewish leaders from across America traveled to Cincinnati Sunday to honor Reds owner Carl Lindner for his contributions to one of the signature programs to help the Israeli government.
Lindner, a Baptist, is the biggest non-Jewish buyer of State of Israel bonds, which Israel has used to raise $25 billion for everything from agriculture to shipping to communications.
Reds owner and financier Carl Lindner was honored for being the largest non-Jewish buyer of Israel bonds in the U.S.
(Melissa Heatherly photo)
Supporters raised more than $71.5 million at the event, including pledges of $10 million from Western & Southern Financial Group and more than $5 million from Lindner and his wife, Edyth.
"Mr. Lindner, I hope that some day you will be able to visit Israel, a country we all love, and see for yourself the many miracles you've helped make possible," said Bobbie Goldstein, national chair of the Israel Bonds campaign.
"I do not share your religion," Lindner responded. "But I share your faith."
The program included the Israeli and U.S. national anthems, and the head table introduced in Reds caps. At the end of the evening, Lindner announced that the Reds had beaten the Los Angeles Dodgers.
The State of Israel Bonds program started in 1951. In 2003, sales of the bonds totaled a record $1.365 billion, and leaders have set a goal of $1.25 billion for 2004.
Israel has never defaulted on the bonds, which carry the highest rating and competitive interest rates.
Lindner representatives would not say how many of the bonds he owns.
Lindner has said an early loan from Sir Isaac Wolfson, founder of the mail-order giant Great Universal Stores, inspired him to support Jewish causes.
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