Franklin County has a total holding of $25 million in Israel bonds -- more than $6.5 million this year alone
People outside with banner reading ceasefire now

The local chapter of Jewish Voice for Peace protesting outside Brown's office calling for a ceasefire

Franklin County Treasurer Cheryl Brooks Sullivan announced the purchase of $2.5 million in Israel Bonds effective October 16 despite S&P lowering its credit rating for the state of Israel in the aftermath of the October 7 attacks. This is after $4 million purchase of Israel Bonds was announced in February. Franklin County’s total holdings of Israel Bonds is now $25 million – the largest of any of the 15 Ohio counties that purchase Israel Bonds.

“This is a solid show of support for the State of Israel,” Jay Schottenstein, chairman of Israel Bonds Central Ohio Advisory Council and CEO of American Eagle, said in a press release.

In just four weeks since October 7, Israel has raised $1 billion from US bond sales, according to the Development Corporation, the agency behind Israel Bond sales. A majority of the billion comes from states and cities. The biggest bank investor is the Cleveland-based Key Bank, purchasing $15 million of Israel Bonds.

After the events of October 7 unfolded, Ohio’s State Treasurer Robert Sprague claimed that “Now is the time to stand with Israel.” On October 11, he announced the state would purchase $20 million in Israel Bonds. Counties in Ohio have followed suit.

Franklin County’s purchase was reportedly coordinated by Kathe Turiel, an OSU Journalism graduate and formally retired representative for Israel Bonds Central Ohio and Kentucky. “Of course, the greatest challenge is engagement,” Turiel told Columbus Jewish News. “I would say, as we see young people moving away from supporting Israel to begin with, then educating them about ... Israel bonds.”

“Israel Bonds” refer to the Development Corporation for Israel (DCI), which is the US underwriter of debt securities issued by the state of Israel. Israel Bonds began as a way to support the state of Israel in the wake of the first Nakba in 1948 when 700,000 Palestinians were displaced by European Jewish immigrants after the Holocaust. The first bond issue was in 1951 and by 1957, Israel Bonds accounted for “35% of Israel's special development budget.” These bonds were essential for kickstarting Israel’s economy as they displaced the native population and built an industrialized state on the ruins with the help of the British colonialists who were leaving the land and its occupants to Zionists.

Israel Bonds have been tied to settler colonialism since their inception as Israel Bonds increase exponentially during military aggressions. In 1967, 1973, and 1991, bond sales skyrocketed, just as they have since October 7 this year.

Since October 7, Israel has launched a second Nakba, murdering over 11,000 Palestinians (although Gaza’s health ministry says they’ve lost the ability to update the number as Israel’s invasion intensifies), displacing over 1.5 million people, destroying schools, hospitals, libraries, and more than 50 media offices. Human rights experts across the globe are calling it a genocide and ethnic cleansing as 1 out of every 200 Gazans have already been killed and over half of the 2.3 million Palestinians in Gaza have been displaced.

Despite the international community calling for an end to the genocide, finance capital has flowed into Israel at record rates from both the public and private sectors in the US. “Israel bonds diversify our portfolio and provide strong returns to the citizens of Franklin County,” Franklin County Treasurer Sullivan said in a release. “I am also proud to support investment in one of America’s partners and allies.”