In an unprecedented demonstration of support, Hillel students from the University of Florida have inspired a new approach to help strengthen the future of Israel as well as their own interests in Jewish campus life. Calling themselves "Gators for Israel Bonds," the students, under the leadership of Keith Dvorchik, executive director of University of Florida Hillel, have pulled together on a mission to raise money to invest in Israel to represent both their personal and academic connection to their Jewish homeland.
Through sheer motivation and purpose, the Gators for Israel Bonds have donated an impressive $17,000 to their Hillel foundation, which will in turn gift it to the University of Florida Foundation through the purchase of Israel bonds. As acknowledgement of support for Hillel's Gators for Israel Bonds, the university has agreed to hold the bonds until maturity so that Israel can make full use of the money.
"I am delighted and honored that the students of UF's Gators for Israel Bonds have extended the effort to raise funds to invest in Israel bonds. Their generosity and work are fine examples of the quality of students who attend the university, including my son, Eric Ruben," said Mark Ruben, regional executive director of Israel Bonds. Ruben will present the students with the Jerusalem Stone Award at a special presentation on the university campus on April 29.
"What makes this bond so exciting is that every dollar donated directly benefits Israel as well as the University of Florida. Initially, the cash that buys the bond will help Israel in this great time of need. Once the bond matures, the University of Florida will greatly benefit from the proceeds for years to come. There is no better gift we could give to Israel and UF," University of Florida student Nina Alexander-Hurst said.
Drew Shenkman, another UF student who helped raise funds, agreed: "My favorite part of the fundraising project was how we involved UF's pro-Israel community and the UF pro-Israel alumni. This isn't just another yearly gift or campaign pledge - it really means something to everyone that was involved."
State of Israel Bonds/Development Corporation for Israel is an international organization offering securities issued by the government of Israel. Since the first bond was sold in 1951, Israel Bonds has secured more than $25 billion in investment capital for the development of every aspect of Israel's economy, including agriculture, commerce and industry. Israel Bonds proceeds also play a major role in absorbing Jews from the former Soviet Union, Ethiopia and elsewhere. Throughout its history, Israel has maintained a perfect record for the payment of principal and interest on the securities it has issued.