Eva Besen, a well known Australian Jewish philanthropist whose family foundation gave generously to Australian and Israeli causes has passed away at the age of 93.
Besen and her husband Marc had a longstanding interest in the development of the Negev, having spoken to Prime Minister David Ben-Gurion about the region’s future during a 1958 visit to Israel.
In 2018, the Besen Family Foundation was behind the funding of the first high school and high tech hub in Ramat HaNegev.
Besen was born in 1928 in Poland. She and her mother immigrated to Melbourne and opened a small store in 1939. In 1947, she married Marc Besen who would go on to become extremely successful through his retail business. Besen’s brother John Gandel also became a well known real estate developer.
Besides giving to Israel, the Besen Family Foundation was very active in Australian philanthropy within the Jewish community and the broader Australian community.
In Australia, the foundation gave to many different projects, including Alzheimer’s research, the Jewish Holocaust Centre, Bialik College, and arts projects.
in 1986, Besen founded the United Israel Appeal Victoria’s Women’s Division, serving as its president until 1989.
United Israel Appeal Victoria President Hayley Southwick described Besen as a “stalwart supporter of Israel and the people of Israel,” reported the Australian Jewish News.