US duty free magnates fund controversial Israeli settlements

HEBRON, West Bank (AP) — When travelers shop at dozens of duty free stores at airports worldwide, they may be paying for more than a bottle of vodka or a box of chocolates.

The Falic family of Florida, owners of the Duty Free Americas chain, funds a generous and sometimes controversial philanthropic empire in Israel that runs through the corridors of power and stretches deep into the occupied West Bank. An AP investigation found the family has donated over $5.6 million to settler organizations in the West Bank and east Jerusalem over the past decade, funding synagogues, schools and social services as well as far-right causes.

The Falics illustrate how wealthy U.S. donors have bolstered the controversial settlement movement. They say they believe Jews have the right to live anywhere in the Holy Land.

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