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Haim Saban

 

Haim Saban (born October 15, 1944) is an Israeli-American media proprietor, investor, philanthropist, musician, record, film & television producer. A businessman with interests in financial services, entertainment, and media, and an estimated net worth of $3 billion, he is ranked by Forbes as the 232nd richest person in America.Saban is the founder of Saban Entertainment, producer and distributor of children's television programs in the US such as Power Rangers. He headed up consortiums which purchased the broadcasters ProSiebenSat.1 Media and Univision Communications. He is a major donor to the US Democratic Party and active in pro-Israel political efforts in the US.

Saban was born to an Egyptian Jewish family in Alexandria, Egypt, in 1944. In 1956, the Saban family immigrated to Israel along with most of the Egyptian Jewish community. Saban was sent to a Youth Aliyah boarding school. Expelled for being a troublemaker, he enrolled in a night school where the principal told him: “You’re not cut out for academic studies; you’re cut out for making money.” Saban is married to Cheryl Lynn (Flor) Saban with whom he has two children. He also has two stepchildren, Tifany and Heidi Lenhart. He resides in Beverly Hills, California.

In 1978 and 1982, Saban used the pseudonym Kussa for music/lyrics writing credits on four records for which he also served as producer using his real name.Since then, he has frequently used the name Kussa Mahchi for his composing credits on Saban Entertainment productions including the Mighty Morphin Power Rangers: The Movie theme song. Saban says his greatest concern is to protect Israel. At a conference in Israel, Saban described his formula. His three ways to influence American politics were: make donations to political parties, establish think tanks, and control media outlets. Saban became involved in politics in the mid-1990s when he felt that support for Israel was slipping in the United States. Saban says his greatest concern is to protect Israel. At a conference in Israel, Saban described his formula. His three ways to influence American politics were: make donations to political parties, establish think tanks, and control media outlets. Saban became involved in politics in the mid-1990s when he felt that support for Israel was slipping in the United States. He says his views have shifted over the years: "I used to be a real leftist. I remember Arik Sharon [the leader of Israel's right-wing Likud Party] coming here, to my house, a few months before Camp David, when he was still leader of the opposition. He told me there would be no deal because [Yassir] Arafat would not sign. I told myself that there was nothing to be done – these right-wingers were simply insane. I had no doubt that there would be a deal and the problems would be resolved. History proved that Sharon was right and I was wrong. In matters relating to security, that moved me to the right. Very far to the right...When there is a terrorist attack, I am [Avigdor] Lieberman. Sometimes to the right of Lieberman. For two days I really love Lieberman. But afterward I come back to reality. Look, I don't see a solution today."

Saban has been a generous and consistent donor to the United States Democratic Party according to his mandatory Federal Election Commission filings. Mother Jones, in an analysis of the major donors to the campaigns of 1998 election cycle, ranked Saban 155th among individual donors. Amy Paris noted that Saban's Clinton-era "generosity did not go unrewarded. During the Clinton administration, the entertainment executive served on the President's Export Council, advising the White House on trade issues." The New York Times reported that Haim and his wife "slept in the White House several times during President Clinton's two terms." Saban remains close friends with the former President. Clinton described Saban as a "very good friend and supporter." Saban contributed between $5 million to $10 million to the William J. Clinton Foundation. During the 2000 presidential election, Saban increased his rank to 5th among individual donors with a combined contribution of $1,250,500. Matthew Yglesias wrote that "Saban was the largest overall contributor to the Democratic National Committee during the 2001–2002 cycle." Saban's donations during that 2001–2002 period exceeded $10 million, the largest donation the DNC has received from a single source up to that time.

In September 2004, Hillary Clinton described Saban as a very good friend, supporter and adviser: "I am grateful for his commitment to Israel, to a just and lasting peace in the Middle East and to my foundation's work, particularly on reconciliation issues." [6] In May 2007, Haim publicly declared his support for Clinton in 2008 presidential election. In June 2007, Saban and Steven Spielberg co-hosted a Hillary Clinton fundraiser at the house of Peter Chernin, the President of News Corporation. According to the Los Angeles Times, the fundraiser brought in over $850,000. In March 2008, Saban was among a group of major Jewish donors to sign a letter to Democratic Party house leader Nancy Pelosi warning her to "keep out of the Democratic presidential primaries." The donors, who "were strong supporters of Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton presidential campaign", "were incensed by a March 16 interview in which Pelosi said that party 'superdelegates' should heed the will of the majority in selecting a candidate." The letter to Pelosi stated the donors "have been strong supporters of the DCCC" and implied, according to The Jewish Telegraphic Agency, that Pelosi could lose their financial support in important upcoming congressional elections.

On May 19, 2008, it was reported that Haim Saban had "offered $1 million to the Young Democrats of America during a phone conversation in which he also pressed for the organization's two uncommitted superdelegates to endorse Hillary Clinton as the Democratic nominee for president. Saban has also made donations to members of the Republican Party including a 2003 contribution to George W. Bush's 2004 re-election campaign.

In 2002 Saban provided an initial grant of 13 million USD and a pledge of additional funds to create the Saban Center for Middle East Policy, a foreign policy think tank based in Washington, D.C. The Saban Center is part of the larger Brookings Institution think tank. The Saban Center aims to provide policy makers in government with information and analysis regarding America's foreign policy in the Middle East. Saban recruited Martin Indyk to direct the center. Haim Saban discussed his views on the Middle East and Persian Gulf region in great detail in a 2006 interview with Haaretz. Particularly notable were his comments regarding Iran: "When I see Ahmadinejad, I see Hitler. They speak the same language. His motivation is also clear: the return of the Mahdi is a supreme goal. And for a religious person of deep self-persuasion, that supreme goal is worth the liquidation of five and a half million Jews. We cannot allow ourselves that. Nuclear weapons in the hands of a religious leadership that is convinced that the annihilation of Israel will bring about the emergence of a new Muslim caliphate? Israel cannot allow that. This is no game. It's truly an existential danger." If Obama strikes a “bad deal” with Iran that would put Israel at risk, “I would bomb the living daylights out of these sons of bitches,” Saban said at a meeting of the Israeli American Council.


Source: Wikipedia