When I was asked to pen an article on the significance of State of Israel Bonds to me, the first word that came to mind was “rewarding.” It’s a word with many facets that express my feelings on the subject.
At its root, rewarding has much to do with satisfaction. That could mean satisfaction to others as well as oneself.
Exploring the others first, the word can apply to the state of Israel and her citizens. Without question, both are richly rewarded as beneficiaries of the funds generated by the sale of bonds. These proceeds supplement the traditional source of government funds from taxes, licensure, asset sales, etc.
For Israel to rely on her bond program, certain criteria must be reached.
First, stability is a prime characteristic, and Israel Bonds get the highest grades from this prospective. Since the inception of the bonds program in 1951, Israel has always met redemptions and paid interest in a timely fashion.
Second, attractive interest rates have made these bonds popular, and they can be bought in durations as short as two years or as long as 10.
A third element that makes the Israel Bonds program so successful is a solid market of investors, including states, municipalities, corporations, unions, foundations, and, most important, us — the American Jewish community.
That’s where I come in.
Like everyone else who invests, I want instruments that are safe and offer a reasonable return. But my reward comes from knowing that my dollars are supporting the state of Israel. Each time I visit Israel, I swell with pride when I arrive at the modern airport, much of which was funded by Israel Bonds. Ditto as I traverse the superb highway system.
That feeling expands as I see many of the projects, such as the water aquifer or the Dead Sea Works — projects in the industrial and agricultural sectors that would not have been possible without a substantial bond program (substantial as in more than $1 billion a year in U.S. sales for four years running).
Reminiscent of our tradition, if it weren’t enough that I could provide for my family with a safe and profitable investment, if it weren’t enough to know that my money is helping to improve the stability of Israel and the lives of my brethren there, Israel Bonds also has offered me the opportunity to participate in several missions.
The mission program is generally open to any current or future investor. Because the bond program is considered vital by the government, access to leadership is always part of the package. This access often includes the prime minister, president, members of the Knesset, ranking military officers and mayors of key cities.
It’s admittedly a rarity, but on one mission I had the opportunity to be invited to a 90-minute session with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in his conference room. Mission participants consistently return home feeling well rewarded.
Serving as a volunteer for any Jewish organization is a blessing. Each does meaningful work that is necessary to achieve its given mission. Israel Bonds in Atlanta is no different. I found myself raising my hand more than 25 years ago, and I still play an active role in the bond organization.
Through my years of service, I have been reacquainted with old friends and met many new ones. In addition, I had the honor of serving as the chairman of the Israel Bonds Advisory Council. I mention this solely to point out that you also can reap rewards by investing, traveling and volunteering to serve this significant program that helps ensure the continued growth, security and prosperity of our Jewish homeland.
Cary Rosenthal is a past Israel Bonds Advisory Council chairman and recipient of the Celebration of Life Award from Temple Emanu-El and State of Israel Bonds.