Bucking boycotts, Ohio to snap up record $61 million in Israel bonds

State Treasurer Josh Mandel says move combats ‘bigotry’ of divestment movement, and is a good investment

Stuart Winer is a breaking news editor at The Times of Israel.

Josh Mandel, the Ohio state treasurer (Citizens for Josh Mandel/JTA)
Josh Mandel, the Ohio state treasurer (Citizens for Josh Mandel/JTA)

State of Ohio Treasurer Josh Mandel said Monday he will purchase an unmatched $61 million in Israel bonds to hit back at the boycott movement against the Jewish state, and because the bonds are a good investment.

The purchase will be the largest single government purchase of Israel bonds in Ohio history and, following acquisitions in previous years, will leave the the state with more Israel bonds than any other US government body in the country.

“First and foremost, we are making this investment because it’s a good investment for the taxpayers of Ohio,” Mandel, a retired Marine who served in Iraq, told the Cleveland Jewish News. “Second, we are making this investment in an effort to combat the bigotry of the BDS movement. Third, we are making this investment to stand with the only country in the Middle East that shares American values.”

The purchase was made possible due to a house bill from 2016 allowing the Treasury to raise debt interests in foreign countries from 1 percent to 2% of the state portfolio, Mandel explained.

Last April, Mandel made a $50 million purchase of bonds from the Jewish state, a record at the time. It followed purchases in 2014 for $47.8 and $42 million in 2013. In the years since he took office in 2011, Mandel has acquired more than $219 million in Israel bonds.

Since 1993, every Ohio treasurer has purchased Israel bonds, the report said, citing the treasurer’s office. The office noted that Israel bonds are considered a good investment because they keep a high credit rating and have a competitive interest rate.

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