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Haim Saban
Born October 15, 1944 (1944-10-15) (age 65)
Alexandria, Egypt[1]
Residence Beverly Hills, California[2] / Israel[1]
Nationality American / Israeli[1]
Other names Hebrew: חיים סבן
Occupation Media proprietor
Net worth 2.8 billion USD[2]
Spouse(s) Cheryl Saban (née Chackler)
Children 4[2]
Website
http://www.saban.com/

Haim Saban (Hebrew: חיים סבן, born 15 October 1944 in Alexandria, Egypt[1]) is a television and media proprietor. With an estimated current net worth of 2.8 billion USD, he is ranked by Forbes as the 102nd richest person in America.[2]

Contents

Personal life

Haim Saban was born in Alexandria, Egypt in 1944.[1]

As a result of the 1956 Suez War, which pitted Egypt and Israel against each other, Haim, along with his family, and much of the Egyptian Jewish community, fled to Israel.[1] After almost going bankrupt in 1975, he moved to Paris, France.[1] Later, in 1983, he moved again to Los Angeles.[1] He currently resides in Beverly Hills, California[2] and in Israel.

Saban is married to Cheryl Saban (née Chackler)[3], with whom he has two children. Through Cheryl, he is also the stepfather of Tifany and Heidi Lenhart.

Career

Early years

Saban started his career in 1966 as a bass player and manager[4] [1] with the Rock band The Lions of Judah (in Hebrew are simply know as The Lions - Ha'arayot). In the interview to the Israeli businesses newspaper The Marker in 2006 Saban told the story that his involvement with the band started after visiting an outdoor music venue in Ramat Gan (In the Galei-Gil outdoor swimming pool where today the Sheraton City Tower stands) and telling the manager that he has a band that could perform at the venue; however at that the time he had yet to have a band nor knew how to play. A friend told him about two brothers (Shuki and Haim “Chaymon” Algranati) who play quite well and lived in North Tel-Aviv. Saban managed to track the brothers by walking around their neighbourhood and locating their house by hearing them rehearsing. He offered the Algranati brothers to be their concert promoter; and later learned to play the bass and also joined the band.

In 1969 Dave Watts from the British band The Tornados joined The Lions. The same year, the band travelled to England and performed in night clubs in London. They received great reviews, which led them to be signed by Polydor Records . The band’s greatest moment came on 6 July 1969, when they were invited to perform on the BBC TV programme Colour Me Pop. The Lions record a single "Our Love's A Growing Thing”, but it was never released in the UK by Polydor Records, which encountered some financial difficulties at the time. The band returned to Israel and Saban focused solely on being a music promoter. [5]

In the early 1970’s Saban moved to France were he was initially a music prompter then a producer (working with artists, such as: Noam Kaniel, Mike Brant and Shuki & Aviva); he also started a record company with his friend Shuki Levy. [6]

In France, he participated in the introduction of Japanese anime and sentai TV series in the country.[citation needed] He produced the scores and opening themes for UFO Robot Grendizer and Candy Candy.[citation needed] He also did the same work on early imported series from America such as Starsky & Hutch and Dallas.[citation needed]

Saban Entertainment

In the United States, he became a television producer, founding Saban Entertainment in 1988.[7] During that time, Haim Saban and partner Shuki Levy became known for soundtrack compositions for children's television programs of the 1980s. Although Levy and Saban composed for their own properties (such as Kidd Video and Maple Town), they scored for other production companies as well (such as Inspector Gadget, The Mysterious Cities of Gold, M.A.S.K., Dinosaucers, Dragon Quest, He-Man and the Masters of the Universe, She-Ra, and Jayce and the Wheeled Warriors). In 1998, The Hollywood Reporter reported that he did not actually compose all the music he is credited for.[8]

In the 1990s, Saban's company became best known for the production of Power Rangers, Masked Rider, VR Troopers and Big Bad Beetleborgs, which were western adaptations of Japanese tokusatsu shows.

In 2003, he headed the $5.7 billion purchase of Kirch Media Group, the then-bankrupt German media conglomerate.[4]

ABC Family

On July 23, 2001, it was announced that he and News Corporation would sell Fox Family Worldwide Inc for $5.3 billion to The Walt Disney Company.[9] and on October 24, 2001, the sale was completed[7] and the network was renamed ABC Family.[4]

Saban, as an individual, profited about $1.6 billion from this sale.[4] This is the largest transaction between a company and a private citizen ever.

Univision

On June 27, 2006, Saban Capital Group led a group of investors bidding for Univision Communications, the largest Spanish-language media company in the United States.[10][11] Other investors in the Saban-led group were Texas Pacific Group of Fort Worth, Texas and Thomas H. Lee Partners. The group was successful in acquiring Univision with a bid valued at $13.7 billion (USD).[10][12]

Shareholders have since filed a lawsuit over the handling of the deal.[citation needed]

Politics

Saban "said he caught the political bug in the mid-1990s, when he felt that support for Israel was slipping in the United States."[3]

Concern for Israel

Saban, in a 2004 New York Times interview[3], ascribed his interest in politics to his concern for Israel: "I'm a one-issue guy and my issue is Israel."[3]

Later, in a 2006 interview for the Israeli newspaper Haaretz[1], Saban was asked to elaborate on his early statement:

You said once that you are a one-note person, and that note is Israel. Why?
"You can't explain love."
It's really love?
"More than love. Passion. A love that is passion."
Please explain.
"When we approach Israel I always ask the pilots of my plane to let me sit in the chair between them. We don't play 'Heveinu Shalom Aleichem,' but when I see the coast coming up my heart starts to go boom, boom, boom."
Is Israel also part of your everyday life here, in Los Angeles?
"At 9 A.M. I start with London and Kirschenbaum [Channel 10's evening current events program]. After that, throughout the day, if I see something about Israel on one of the four channels that are always on in my office, on mute, I immediately turn on the sound. And I have Israeli music on my computer, classics and contemporary singers, too."

Asked about the Israel-United States relationship Saban has answered[1]:

Do you still feel, as you once did, that America's attitude toward Israel is liable to deteriorate?
"At the moment there is no sign of a crisis. But we must not be complacent. The two pillars of the state are the Israel Defense Forces and the U.S., Dimona [the site of Israel's nuclear reactor] and Washington. [Israel] must do all we can to maintain the alliance with America. A major crisis at the wrong time could be a disaster, a disaster."
Do you feel that as an Israeli-American of influence your mission is to prevent that crisis?
"You said it."

In pursuit of his concerns, Saban was described in 2004 as "throwing his weight and money around Washington and, increasingly, the world, trying to influence all things Israeli."[3]

Glenn Greenwald has criticized Saban for being "an Israeli-American neoconservative who was a 2004 supporter of George [W.] Bush, was a close associate of Ariel Sharon, and spent the 1990s persuading Bill Clinton (with millions of dollars in donations to the Democratic Party) to be more supportive of Israel."[13]

Saban has donated to Israel's left-of-center Labor Party.[citation needed]

Political positions

Saban relates that his political opinions regarding Israel and its foreign relations have shifted significant to the right[1]:

"I used to be a real leftist. I remember Arik Sharon [the leader of Israel's right-wing Likud Party] coming here, to my house, a few months before Camp David, when he was still leader of the opposition. He told me there would be no deal because [Yassir] Arafat would not sign. I told myself that there was nothing to be done -- these right-wingers were simply insane. I had no doubt that there would be a deal and the problems would be resolved. History proved that Sharon was right and I was wrong. In matters relating to security, that moved me to the right. Very far to the right."
How far right?
"When there is a terrorist attack, I am [Avigdor] Lieberman. Sometimes to the right of Lieberman. For two days I really love Lieberman. But afterward I come back to reality. Look, I don't see a solution today."[1]

Saban has also explained his positions on specific issues facing Israel[1]:

Would you try to talk to Hamas?
"That is something I would do. Absolutely. You have to talk to anyone who is willing to talk. But based on a realistic approach."
Would you leave the Golan Heights in return for an agreement with Syria?
"The security experts have to say whether we can afford to do that or not. Emotionally, there is a problem. There was nothing there, and today it's all blooming. It would be heartrending to uproot those people. Heartrending. But I think that the final outcome with the Syrians is worth a supreme effort. But only if it includes everything: neutralizing Hezbollah and severing Syria from Iran."
You meet frequently and quite intimately with Israeli and American decision-makers. What do you tell than about the situation regarding Iran?
"The Iranians are serious. They mean business. [Mahmoud] Ahmadinejad is not a madman. [....] When I see Ahmadinejad, I see Hitler. They speak the same language. His motivation is also clear: the return of the Mahdi is a supreme goal. And for a religious person of deep self-persuasion, that supreme goal is worth the liquidation of five and a half million Jews. We cannot allow ourselves that. Nuclear weapons in the hands of a religious leadership that is convinced that the annihilation of Israel will bring about the emergence of a new Muslim caliphate? Israel cannot allow that. This is no game. It's truly an existential danger."[1]

Democratic Party

Saban has been a large and consistent donor to the United States Democratic Party according to his mandatory Federal Election Commission filings.

Bill Clinton presidency

Mother Jones, in an analysis of the major donors to the campaigns of 1998 election cycle, ranked Saban 155th among individual donors.[14] Amy Paris noted that Saban's Clinton-era "generosity did not go unrewarded. During the Clinton administration, the entertainment executive served on the President's Export Council, advising the White House on trade issues."[14] The New York Times reported that Haim and his wife "slept in the White House several times during President Clinton's two terms. And Mr. Saban has remained close to the former president."[3]

2000 presidential election

During the 2000 presidential election, Saban increased his rank to 5th among individual donors with a combined contribution of $1,250,500.[14]

2001-2002 Democratic National Committee

Matthew Yglesias wrote that "Saban was the largest overall contributor to the Democratic National Committee during the 2001–2002 cycle" and related the support from Saban to the fact that "the party leadership was backing the Iraq War and Terry McAuliffe was DNC chair."[15] Saban's donations during that 2001–2002 period exceeded $10 million, the largest donation the DNC has received from a single source up to that time.

Hillary Clinton presidential campaign

Hillary Clinton had a long history of good relations with Haim dating back to Haim's late 1990s support of her husband's political efforts. Hillary told a reporter for the New York Times in September 2004 that "Haim Saban has been a very good friend, supporter and adviser to me. I am grateful for his commitment to Israel, to a just and lasting peace in the Middle East and to my foundation's work, particularly on reconciliation issues."[3]

In May 2007, Haim publicly declared his support for Hillary Clinton in 2008 presidential election.[11]

Matthew Yglesias has related Saban's support of Hillary Clinton 2008 presidential campaign to Saban's earlier 2001-2002-era donations to the then Iraq war-supporting DNC saying that "if Clinton becomes president, they'll be back in the positions of influence they enjoyed back then. I doubt this all means that Hillary Clinton's secretly itching for war with Iran, but it's yet another illustration of the fact that her views on national security policy are too neoconnish for my tastes."[15]

In June 2007, Haim and Steven Spielberg co-hosted a Hillary Clinton fundraiser at the house of Peter Chernin, the President of News Corporation.[16] According to the Los Angeles Times[16], the fundraiser brought in over $850,000.

In March 2008, Saban was among a group of major Jewish donors to sign a letter to Democratic Party house leader Nancy Pelosi warning her to "keep out of the Democratic presidential primaries."[17] The donors, who "were strong supporters of Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton presidential campaign", "were incensed by a March 16 interview in which Pelosi said that party 'superdelegates' should heed the will of the majority in selecting a candidate."[17] The letter to Pelosi stated the donors "have been strong supporters of the DCCC" and implied, according to The Jewish Telegraphic Agency[17], that Pelosi could lose their financial support in important upcoming congressional elections.

On May 19, 2008, it was reported that Haim Saban had "offered $1 million to the Young Democrats of America during a phone conversation in which he also pressed for the organization's two uncommitted superdelegates to endorse the New York Democrat."[18]

Republican Party

He has also made some select donations to members of the Republican Party including a 2003 contribution to George W. Bush's 2004 re-election campaign. Regarding Saban's selective support of Republicans, The New York Times writes: "Mr. Saban is a vocal opponent of President Bush ---- 'I think Bush is just messing it up every day more' ---- he supports some of Mr. Bush's policies. 'On the issues of security and terrorism I am a total hawk.'"[3]

Arnold Schwarzenegger re-election

Saban joined Steven Spielberg and Jeffrey Katzenberg in endorsing the re-election of Arnold Schwarzenegger, Republican Governor of California, on August 7, 2006.[citation needed]

Saban Center for Middle East Policy

In 2002 Haim provided an initial grant of 13 million USD[19][20] and a pledge of additional funds[20] to create the Saban Center for Middle East Policy, a foreign policy think tank based in Washington, D.C.. The Saban Center is part of the larger Brookings Institution think tank.[20] The Saban Center aims to provides policy makers in government with information and analysis regarding America's foreign policy in the Middle East.

Haim personally recruited Martin Indyk to direct the Saban Center.[19]

Saban National Political Leadership Training Seminar

Haim Saban sponsors the American-Israel Public Affairs Committee's Saban National Political Leadership Training Seminar, a series of semiannual seminars in Washington to provide college student activists for three days of intensive pro-Israel advocacy training[21]. The seminars, named after Saban, each provide up to 300 students from a hundred campuses with training in order to "prepare for challenges and opportunities on their campuses and [the students] left Washington prepared to mobilize for legislative and electoral impact during the next school year and into campaign '08."[22] Among the prominent figures to have addressed the seminars are Senator Evan Bayh and Congressman Mark Kirk and academics David Makovsky, Robert Satloff and Dennis Ross.[22].

Jane Harman AIPAC Controversy

Regarding Jane Harman AIPAC Controversy, in April 2009, New York Times, quoting anonymous sources, said:

"In return, the caller promised her that a wealthy California donor — the media mogul Haim Saban — would threaten to withhold campaign contributions to Representative Nancy Pelosi, the California Democrat who was expected to become House speaker after the 2006 election, if she did not select Ms. Harman for the intelligence post" [23]

References

  1. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o Shavit, Ari (2006-09-12). "'You made it big, you jerk!'". Israel: Haaretz. http://www.haaretz.com/hasen/spages/798292.html. Retrieved 2008-05-07. 
  2. ^ a b c d e "'The 400 Richest Americans: #98 Haim Saban'". Forbes. 2006-09-21. http://www.forbes.com/lists/2006/54/biz_06rich400_Haim-Saban_SG68.html. Retrieved 2008-05-07. 
  3. ^ a b c d e f g h Sorkin, Andrew (2004-09-05). "Schlepping to Moguldom". The New York Times. http://www.nytimes.com/2004/09/05/business/yourmoney/05sab.html?ei=5088&en=9eb8c2a72c2b5e7d&ex=1252123200&partner=rssnyt&pagewanted=print&position. Retrieved 2008-05-07. 
  4. ^ a b c d Ackman, Dan (2003-03-17). "Mighty Morphin Haim Saban". Forbes. http://www.forbes.com/2003/03/17/cx_da_0317topnews.html. Retrieved 2008-05-07. 
  5. ^ Kutner, Yoav, "The Lions Biography", Mooma -Israel's music website-, http://translate.google.com/translate?hl=en&sl=iw&tl=en&u=http://mooma.mako.co.il/Biography.asp%3FArtistId%3D7664%26TextId%3D1065, retrieved 2009-11-03 
  6. ^ From "Dallas" to Masada - Shuki Levy's Biography, http://members.tripod.com/masada_musical/news/art4_eng.html, retrieved 2009-11-03 
  7. ^ a b "Haim Saban". Saban. http://www.saban.com/html/team/saban.html. Retrieved 2009-02-19. 
  8. ^ http://gawker.com/5222987/meet-suspected-israeli-operative-haim-saban
  9. ^ "News Corp. and Haim Saban Reach Agreement to Sell Fox Family Worldwide to Disney for $5.3 Billion". Saban. July 23, 2001. http://www.saban.com/html/press/010723.html. Retrieved 2009-02-19. 
  10. ^ a b "Univision Accepts $12.3 billion Saban-led Bid". Reuters. 2006-06-27. http://en.epochtimes.com/news/6-6-27/43252.html. Retrieved 2008-05-07. 
  11. ^ a b Mehta, Stephanie (2007-05-14). "The man with the golden gut". Fortune. http://money.cnn.com/magazines/fortune/fortune_archive/2007/05/14/100009182/index.htm. Retrieved 2008-05-07. 
  12. ^ "Univision to Be Acquired by Madison Dearborn Partners, Providence Equity Partners, Texas Pacific Group, Thomas H. Lee Partners and Saban Capital Group for $13.7 Billion". Saban. July 23, 2001. http://www.saban.com/html/press/060627.html. Retrieved 2009-02-23. 
  13. ^ Greenwald, Glenn (2007-08-12). "The truth behind the Pollack-O'Hanlon trip to Iraq". Salon.com. http://www.salon.com/opinion/greenwald/2007/08/12/ohanlon/index.html. Retrieved 2008-05-07. 
  14. ^ a b c Paris, Amy (2001-03-05). "The Mother Jones 400: Haim Saban (with Cheryl)". Mother Jones. Archived from the original on 2008-01-13. http://web.archive.org/web/20080113211801/http://www.motherjones.com/news/special_reports/mojo_400/5_saban.html. Retrieved 2009-02-27. 
  15. ^ a b Yglesias, Matthew (2007-06-10). "Haim Saban". The Atlantic. http://matthewyglesias.theatlantic.com/archives/2007/06/haim_saban.php. Retrieved 2008-05-07. 
  16. ^ a b Daunt, Tina (2007-07-07). "CAUSE CELEBRE: Was it just one of those things? A brief fling with the Obama camp appears to be fading as Sen. Clinton's Hollywood support solidifies.". Los Angeles Times. http://pqasb.pqarchiver.com/latimes/access/1284425121.html?dids=1284425121:1284425121&FMT=ABS&FMTS=ABS:FT&date=Jun+08%2C+2007&author=Tina+Daunt&pub=Los+Angeles+Times&desc=CAUSE+CELEBRE%3B+Was+it+just+one+of+those+things%3F%3B+A+brief+fling+with+the+Obama+camp+appears+to+be+fading+as+Sen.+Clinton%27s+Hollywood+support+solidifies.&pqatl=google. Retrieved 2008-05-07. 
  17. ^ a b c "Jewish Clinton backers warn Pelosi on meddling". Jewish Telegraphic Agency. 2008-03-28. http://www.jta.org/cgi-bin/iowa/breaking/107769.html. Retrieved 2008-05-07. 
  18. ^ Pitney, Nico (2008-05-19). "Superdelegates Turned Down $1 Million Offer From Clinton Donor". Huffington Post. http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2008/05/19/superdelegates-turned-dow_n_102450.html. Retrieved 2008-05-19. 
  19. ^ a b "Saban Center for Middle East Policy". SourceWatch. 2006-12-07. http://www.sourcewatch.org/index.php?title=Saban_Center_for_Middle_East_Policy. Retrieved 2008-05-07. 
  20. ^ a b c "About Us". Saban Center for Middle East Policy. http://www.brookings.edu/saban/about.aspx. Retrieved 2008-05-07. 
  21. ^ Peace Now
  22. ^ a b AIPAC
  23. ^ "Lawmaker Is Said to Have Agreed to Aid Lobbyists". New York Times. 2009-04-20. http://www.nytimes.com/2009/04/21/us/politics/21harman.html?_r=1&partner=rss&emc=rss. Retrieved 2009-04-21. 

Further reading

External links








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