Mega Donors’ Perspectives on Philanthropy and Government Relations in Israel

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Philanthropists’ involvement in the development and implementation of social policies is a growing yet understudied phenomena. Captured in the model of alternative politics, in which self-provision of public services emerges when citizens face the failure of private and public mechanisms, not only in terms of obtaining sufficiently high-quality services, but also in terms of utilizing political channels to influence public policy, and poses major challenges to the political system. This dynamic of welfare states in recent decades is contested, since while it provides new streams of funding and innovative and professional capacities, it also has potential negative repercussions to democratic processes, equity and universalism of social policies. In-depth interviews with fourteen Israeli mega donors are used to show how mega donors promote relations between philanthropy and government in Israel that are based on voluntary cooptation in which the government regulates the philanthropic activity in Israel. By voluntarily granting the government a mandate to regulate philanthropic activity, the mega donors lead philanthropy into a situation in which philanthropy’s autonomy may be jeopardized and its agendas may be subordinated to the priorities, preferences and business-minded worldview of the ruling elite - the political elite (government) and the business elites (mega donors).

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)261-271
Number of pages11
Issue number3
StatePublished - 1 Jun 2017

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2017, Springer Science+Business Media New York.


  • Government
  • Mega donors
  • Philanthropy
  • Self-cooptation


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