Martin Belsky, a University of Akron law professor, former dean and staunch Israel supporter, will be honored by Israel Bonds Sept. 15 at the Shaw Jewish Community Center in Akron. Guest speaker for the event will be Alon Ben-Gurion, grandson of David Ben-Gurion, Israel’s first prime minister and the founder of the Israel Bonds.  

“I am a strong supporter of the state of Israel,” Belsky said. “I do believe in Israel bonds because what it does is it provides bonds for the development of Israel. It is apolitical and it is involved in providing the development of programs for infrastructure (plus) providing money for other things.”

Belsky, an Akron resident and member of Beth El Congregation in Akron and Temple Israel in Bath Township, has been heavily involved with pro-Jewish causes throughout his life. 

A Philadelphia native, Belsky recalls as a 10-year-old seeing Jewish actor Edward G. Robinson speak. Robinson stressed the importance of investing in Israel and Israel bonds. 

“From that point on, I was always interested in investing in Israel and the best way to invest in Israel is Israel bonds,” Belsky said. “I’ve given bonds to my grandchildren, I received bonds for my bar-mitzvah and when I got married. It’s been a continuous theme throughout my life.” 

Belsky is a former chair and current board member of the Ohio/Western Pennsylvania/West Virginia region of the Anti-Defamation League. He is also a member of the Jewish Community Board of Akron and chair of the Akron Jewish community relations committee. Belsky was also a member of the 2016 Cleveland Jewish News 18 Difference Makers.

Belsky has been counsel to the judiciary committee of the House of Representatives, dean of The University of Tulsa College of Law, dean and president at Albany Law School and dean of the University of Akron School of Law. 

“We find value in holding events in different communities throughout our region,” said Thomas Lockshin, executive director of Ohio and Kentucky’s Development Corporation for Israel. “Akron has a small, but strong Jewish community that cares about Israel.

“Marty is very gracious to allow us to honor him. He has a long history of supporting and advocating pro-Jewish and pro-Israel organizations. Martin is a tremendous supporter of Israel and that is our company mission to support Israel economically.”

Ben-Gurion will offer a unique perspective of his late grandfather, who founded Israel Bonds in 1951. Cleveland was one of the original cities Ben-Gurion visited to promote his bond program in the early 1950s. 

Peter Atkins is a freelance writer in Cleveland.

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