Ohio may be making a historic investment in Israel Bonds, but Pennsylvania is no slouch either.
The Cleveland Jewish News recently reported that the State of Ohio has bought $42 million in Israel Bonds, reportedly the largest single government purchase of Israel Bonds in U.S. history.
The March 1 purchase increases the total amount of Israel Bonds in the state’s treasury portfolio to more than $80 million, which reportedly make it the largest such buy in U.S. history.
“We believe this is a sound investment for the taxpayers of Ohio and consistent with our strategy of investing in safe and strong securities,” Ohio State Treasurer Josh Mandel, who is Jewish, told the News.
By comparison, Pennsylvania holds $20 million in Israel Bonds purchased in three separate “holdings” over time, according to State Treasury spokesman Gary Tuma.
“Our investment people always diversify,” said Tuma, explaining the holdings. He added that the bonds offered “favorably comparable rates for that type of asset at the time they were purchased.”
Pennsylvania made its most recent bond purchase March 22, 2011, when two of its three current holdings were acquired. It has made 10 purchases since 1994, according to Tuma, seven of which have since matured.
The two states are hardly alone. According to Harold Marcus, State of Israel Bonds executive director for the Pennsylvania Region, 80 municipal and state governments have invested more than $2.5 billion over the years in Israel Bonds.
Those investors are from California, Connecticut, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Indiana, Louisiana, Massachusetts, Maryland, Minnesota, Missouri, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, Oklahoma, Rhode Island, South Carolina, Texas and Wisconsin, in addition to Ohio and Pennsylvania.
“In today’s market, preservation of capital and Israel’s record of perfect repayment of interest and principle on time is very attractive,” said Marcus, a Pittsburgh native.
He said he wasn’t surprised to hear about Ohio’s purchase, noting that the deal was probably put together over a long period of time.
(Lee Chottiner can be reached at email@example.com.)