Pro-Israel philanthropist Newton Becker died on Sunday, January 2, The Jewish Journal of Los Angeles reported.
Becker is survived by his wife, Rochelle, and his son, David. He died at the age of 83 after a long struggle with illness. He lived in Bel Air.
Becker was a prolific donor who had a reputation for humility, said the report. He donated to organizations that shared his belief in Israel’s importance to the Jewish people and to the world, due to its democratic nature. He gave funds to organizations such as StandWithUs, which fosters pro-Israeli activism, CAMERA (Committee for Accuracy on Middle East Reporting in America), the Zionist Organization of America (ZOA), MEMRI which translates Mideast media into English, and others. He was also on the original board of trustees of the Simon Wiesenthal Center
The ZOA’s Morton Klein told The Jewish Journal Becker “was an unusually great human being, a mensch.”
In a statement it released after Becker’s death, StandWithUs said he “was a giant in pro-Israel philanthropy through his generous funding and, even more so, through his far-sighted, strategic thinking, creative entrepreneurialism, and tireless devotion to protecting Israel. He shifted the paradigm of pro-Israel activism. Without him, the pro-Israel community would not be as strong and effective as it is today.”
“Newton's passing is a painful loss to StandWithUs,” the statement said. “When StandWithUs was founded in 2001, Newton immediately recognized the urgent need for the organization and supported it. He mentored StandWithUs founders with his characteristic hands-on approach, encouraged their work, always found time to strategize with them, and connected them to the myriad of people he knew around the world who would benefit from their work and who would complement or enhance their efforts. Newton remained on the StandWithUs Board of Directors since its founding 10 years ago.”
Becker earned his fortunes by developing a CPA training program that became popular internationally and developed into multiple languages. He was also a supporter of alternative energy, as the founding investor and chairman of the board of Luz International, a solar company. The Cleveland native worked with Electric Fuel and Price Waterhouse, and studied at Kent State University and Case Western Reserve University.