Bill Clinton will rake in $500,000 for his next speech in Israel, which means the former president earns a whopping $11,100 per minute for the 45-minute talk, according to a Sunday report. Clinton will appear at the Peres Academic Center in Rehovot on June 17 for Israeli President Shimon Peres' 90th birthday.
Bill Clinton's $500,000 speaking fee was paid for by the non-profit Keren Kayemeth LeIsrael, or the Jewish National Fund of Israel. However, the 42nd U.S. president may not directly benefit from the high fee, as all the proceeds will be donated to the William J. Clinton Foundation, which focuses on health security, economic empowerment, leadership development, as well as racial and religious issues.
Still, Clinton has earned a substantial amount since he left office in 2001, raking in $13.4 million in 2011 off of speaking fees alone. That included $750,000 in November of that year to travel to speak to Ericsson employees in Hong Kong, $700,000 for a talk in Lagos, Nigeria, and another $550,000 for a business conference in Shanghai, according to The New York Daily News.
It's estimated that Bill Clinton has made $89 million giving talks around the world since he left office, with the most lucrative events being overseas.
The high price being paid by the Israeli non-profit, which plants trees around the country, has caused some criticism. JNF spent the large sum a year in advance to secure Clinton and "generate positive PR for itself abroad," Israeli newspaper Haaretz wrote.
President Peres refused to turn the event into a fundraiser, as initially the non-profit was charing $800 per person. However, the fact that they are footing the bill without any fundraising has drawn ire.
"Aren't they supposed to plant trees with donor cash?" Amir Mizroch, editor of Israel's Hayom English publication, tweeted. "I guess money does grow on trees."
After the former president's speech, he will remain in Israel for the "Leadership That Makes a Difference" conference on June 19. Other big names like former U.K. Prime Minister Tony Blair and former U.S.S.R. leader Mikhail Gorbachev will be in attendance.