Music producer and host of television’s The X Factor, Simon Cowell made a large pledge to the Israel Defense Forces at Haim Saban’s Los Angeles fundraiser, where musician Lionel Richie performed for 1,200 guests, the UK’s Jewish Chronicle reported.
The Jewish Chronicle said the American Friends of the IDF event raised some $20 million for the organization, including a pledge thought to be in the region of £150,000 ($243,000) from Cowell.
The big donation came through some gentle cajoling by host media executive Haim Saban, creator of television’s Power Rangers, who pledged to donate $1 million if Cowell would accompany him in singing the show’s theme song, “Go, Go Power Rangers,” the Jewish Chronicle reported. Cowell began to sing, but then said he would make a donation if Saban allowed him to stop.
Saban told IDF soldiers in attendance that LA’s Jewish and Israeli communities “appreciate and embrace the soldiers of the IDF, and will continue to do everything in order to give thanks to them and strengthen them in whatever is needed.”
Last year Cowell told an audience at a similar Jewish non-profit fundraising dinner, in Britain, “My dad is Jewish. He never told me or my brother or his wife. It’s in my blood and drew me to the charity.”
Cowell’s paternal grandmother was Jewish and immigrated to the UK from Poland.
This summer it was revealed that Cowell is expecting a child with a Jewish woman, New Yorker Lauren Silverman, who recently divorced her husband, Andrew. Their baby, who will be Jewish, is due to be born in February.
Cowell was estimated to have a fortune of £200 million ($324 million) in the Sunday Times Rich List of 2011, making him the sixth richest person in the British music industry.