“I come to this place, therefore, with a sense of profound humility, as I look around here at great people who’ve accomplished a great thing, and also a sense of spiritual connection, acknowledging the hand of providence in establishing this place and making it a holy city,” Romney said.
The presumptive Republican presidential nominee was expected to raise more than $1 million from the donors, who each were required to raise or donate $25,000 to $50,000 to attend the event. All of the donors are U.S. citizens, and many of them flew here from the United States to be with Romney during his 36-hour visit to Jerusalem.
Many of those in attendance at the posh King David Hotel are major bundlers for Romney’s campaign, raising tens of thousands of dollars from their business associates and friends. Adelson, for instance, has personally committed to giving tens of millions of dollars to a pro-Romney super PAC.
Other donors in attendance included hedge fund executive Paul Singer, beef industry executive John Miller, New York Jets owner Woody Johnson and lawyer Philip Rosen.
Ann Romney and one of the couple’s sons, Josh, as well as Scott Romney, the candidate’s older brother, also attended, as did national finance chairman Spencer Zwick and his wife, Jenny, and Bob White, one of Romney’s closest friends and founding partner at Bain Capital.
Ann Romney told the donors that the trip to Israel was emotional for her family. She said Josh had never visited Israel before, and she told him at the beginning of the trip that he would be touched at some point — and he was.
“I think your heart would have to be made of stone not to feel what is still here,” Ann Romney said. “And it is a magical place, and it is a place which makes us turn to our inner soul and to our hearts . . . So it is with quiet ears that we can hear and listen to all that is around us and of the beauty and all of the extraordinary history that’s here.”
In his remarks, Mitt Romney contrasted the gross domestic product of Israel with its neighbors in the Middle East.
“As you come here and you see the GDP per capita, for instance, in Israel which is about $21,000, and compare that with the GDP per capita just across the areas managed by the Palestinian Authority, which is more like $10,000 per capita, you notice such a dramatically stark difference in economic vitality,” Romney said.
Romney cited two books that had influenced his thinking about foreign affairs — “Guns, Germs and Steel” by Jared Diamond and “The Wealth and Poverty of Nations” by David Landes, and he gave a shout-out for “Start-up Nation,” a book one of his senior foreign policy advisers, Dan Senor, wrote about entrepreneurship in Israel.