Here are the 30 richest people in Israel, according to Haaretz's 2019 ranking:
Dr. Miriam Adelson, wife of U.S. casino tycoon and philanthropist Sheldon Adelson, is the wealthiest person in 2019 Israel. Israeli-born Adelson is a new addition to the top-50 list this year, jumping straight to first place thanks to a recent transfer of assets from her husband.
Adelson had mostly stayed out of the public eye until recently, with media attention centered on her husband, who is now 85. That has started to change – perhaps due to Sheldon’s age, or perhaps because of his cancer, which has kept him away from his business activities and public appearances for several months.
Over the past year, Dr. Adelson, 73, a dual Israeli and American citizen, became Israel’s wealthiest individual by a long stretch. Her personal wealth is now $22 billion, most of it in shares in the Las Vegas Sands Corporation, gifted to her by her husband during the previous year. In May 2018, Adelson also took control of her husband’s freebie newspaper Israel Hayom, considered a mouthpiece for Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, when she declared herself its publisher. In an unusual move, she penned an opinion piece in favor of Israel’s controversial nation-state law. Her role at the daily gives her significant influence over the everyday lives of Israelis.
Total worth in 2018: 11,400,000,000
The wealth amassed by one of Israel’s richest citizens could buy more than 200 million barrels of oil. Or, if he were to transfer his capital to the Israeli government, it could buy 150 F-35 Adir stealth fighter planes. The list of his assets is no less impressive. Among them is the world’s second-largest privately owned yacht, which is 162.5 meters long, has two helicopter landing pads and is estimated to be worth $400 million. He owns a huge home in London’s upscale Kensington neighborhood, valued at around $120 million; the street on which the mansion is situated in known as Billionaires’ Row. He has also invested some $100 million in three adjoining townhouses in the Upper East Side of Manhattan, which he intends to turn into one huge estate.
This person in question is Russian-born Roman Abramovich, 52, who last year became an Israeli citizen, becoming the richest person ever to immigrate to the country. His total wealth is valued at $13 billion. It wasn’t difficult for him to get citizenship, since as a Jew, it is granted to him automatically under the Law of Return.
For 16 years he has been the owner of the Chelsea Football Club, worth around $2 billion, and for some years resided in the United Kingdom thanks to an investor’s visa. According to The Guardian newspaper, the British government granted such visas to some 700 Russian oligarchs during the years 2008-2015. British media outlets reported that Abramovich’s visa expired a year ago, around the same time as he became an Israeli citizen; according to associates he never tried to become a resident of the United Kingdom. With an Israeli passport, he can enter Britain in any case without difficulty.
Abramovich’s story is one of the most fascinating and frightening of those told about Russians who got wealthy during their country’s transition from a communist regime to an oligarchy.
3. Eyal Ofer
Total worth in 2018: $9,300,000,000
In February the Ofer family completed its compliance with the Law for the Promotion of Competition and Reduction of Concentration. The family’s holdings in Mizrahi-Tefahot Bank were transferred to Eyal Ofer, while Ofer Investments and Melisron were transferred to his cousins, Liora and Doron Ofer.
In doing this the family devised a creative solution to the law, which demands a separation between real assets (the Melisron real estate corporation) and financial assets (Mizrahi-Tefahot). Eyal Ofer acquired his cousins’ share in Mizrahi-Tefahot in order to attain a 22% stake in the bank, whose market value was 3.4 billion shekels ($940 million). At the same time, he sold his shares in Melisron to his cousins.
Ofer inherited most of his wealth from his father, Sammy Ofer, who died in 2011. He chose to invest his inheritance in real estate and shipping. Today his profits are based on the real estate he owns in Great Britain and the United States, and his holdings in Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd. The market value of his share in Mizrahi-Tefahot is over 4 billion shekels. (Daniel Isler)
Family members: Eitan, Ruti, Irit, Yiftah and Stef Wertheimer
Total worth in 2018: $9,000,000,000
In 2006, 80% of the shares of Iscar, manufacturer of precision metal cutting tools for the chips processing industry, were sold to Berkshire Hathaway, owned by U.S. businessman Warren Buffett. In 2013, in another transaction, Buffett acquired the remaining shares. The Wertheimer family focuses on solid investment, and in 2017 sold its control in Servotronix to the Chinese electronics giant Midea Group for $170 million. Servotronix specializes in the development and manufacturing of motion control systems using sensors.
In recent years most of the wealth of Iscar founder Stef Wertheimer has been transferred to his children. There have recently been problems with their activities in the field of philanthropy, due to struggles for control of the nonprofit organization that oversees some 800 million shekels of Stef’s money.
In 2010 Wertheimer founded the Stef Wertheimer Foundation for Education, Work and Entrepreneurship for Industry, and contributed $200 million to the fields of technological education, innovation and entrepreneurship. In January the foundation’s activity was halted, however, due to differences of opinion between Wertheimer and members of the board. There was initially concern regarding the identity of the person who will control the NPO’s funds and how they will be dispensed, but the sides finally reached a compromise that enabled continuation of the foundation’s activity. (Daniel Isler)
Stock market value: $7,700,000,000
Total value in 2018: $6,5000,000,000
Businessman Patrick Drahi was born in Morocco, and as a teenager moved with his family to France. He began to build his wealth by acquiring small cable companies in that country, and in 2001 founded the Altice telecommunications group, by means of which he runs his business-telecom empire. The company is active in various telecom-related fields in France, the United States, Israel, Belgium, Portugal, Switzerland and other countries. In Israel Drahi is one of the owners of the Hot cable company and the i24NEWS TV channel.
In June 2018 Altice divided its operations, separating those in the United States (Altice USA) from those in the rest of the world (Altice Europe) – but Drahi continues to control both. Since 2015 the share price of Altice Europe, which is traded on the Amsterdam stock exchange, has been suffering continual declines. The company, saddled with a debt of about 30 billion euros, tried to liquefy its business in the past year. Among other things, it examined the possibility of selling its operations in Portugal, and recently Reuters reported that Altice is also examining the sale of its entire Israeli subsidiary, HOT Telecommunication Systems. According to the report, Altice hired the Stanley Morgan investment bank to examine the various sales options, following a directive that came from Drahi himself. (Daniel Isler)
Family members: Dana, Sharon, Naomi and Rafi Azrieli
Stock market value: $4,990,000,000
Total value in 2018: $4,400,000,000
The popularity of online purchases and going on shopping sprees abroad is detrimental to local malls, and Amazon’s announcement that it is expanding its activity in Israel is certainly not encouraging. However, investors are apparently expressing confidence in the Azrieli Group and its shares are not decreasing in value. The group, which invests primarily in yielding real estate, has benefited in recent years from developments in the capital and real estate markets. The group is held and managed by the children of David Azrieli, who died in 2014: Dana, Sharon, Naomi and Rafi. Their holdings are worth about $5 billion.
The company plans to build a fourth tower in the Azrieli complex in Tel Aviv – a spiral-shaped structure that will be some 350 meters tall, making it the highest building in Israel. The new tower will be built on the site of the Beit Yedioth Ahronoth building and the cost of construction is estimated at about 2.5 billion shekels. Among additional initiatives the group is planning are construction of a commercial center, offices, residential units and hotels in Modi’in, and an assisted-living project in Rishon Letzion. (Daniel Isler)
7. Shari Arison
Stock market value: $1,410,000,000
Total value in 2018: $5,500,000,000
For years businesswoman Shari Arison was identified with Bank Hapoalim and the Housing and Construction (Shikun & Binui) company – but no longer. In the past year she held a liquidation sale of her holdings in Israel: She sold her share of Shikun & Binui (47%) to businessman Naty Saidoff for 1.1 million shekels; Israel’s largest salt production company, Salt of the Earth, to Fortissimo Capital for 160 million shekels; and the water infrastructure company Miya to the Bridgepoint private equity group, for about 940 million shekels. Arison also announced that she had exited from her shipping industry holdings.
In addition Arison sold 4.3% of her shares in Bank Hapoalim, leaving her with 15.8% of the bank – her last holding in Israel, worth about $1.41 billion. According to estimates, she will try to sell it in the coming year.
In May the Israeli Police reported that they recommend indicting Arison on suspicion of involvement by Shikun & Binui and satellite companies in the bribery of public officials in African countries, especially Kenya. (Daniel Isler)
8. Gil Schwed
Stock market value: $3,540,000,000
Total value in 2018: $4,200,000,000
In 1993 Gil Shwed cofounded Check Point Software Technologies, along with Marius Nacht and Shlomo Kramer, and has served as its CEO since then. In the 1990s Check Point grew by partnering with information technology companies HP and Nokia, among others. Until recently Shwed held about 19% of the company’s shares. This year it was reported that he had sold 1.4 percent of his shares for $361 million in 2018, and his stake fell to 17.6 percent of the shares, worth $3.2 billion. (Daniel Isler)
9. Idan Ofer
Stock market value: $1,300,000,000
Total value in 2018: $2,250,000,000
Idan Ofer is the younger son of the late businessman Sammy Ofer. After his father’s death in 2011 he inherited capital and holdings worth $6 billion. Ofer holds half the shares of the Israel Corporation, which is active in the chemical and distillery industries; his holdings are worth about $750 million. He also owns 58% of the shares of Kenon Holdings, which owns part of the activities of the Israel Corporation, in the fields of shipping, chips and vehicle manufacturing.
Until recently Ofer also owned the Israeli TV franchise Reshet, but he agreed to sell all his holdings and to bow out of the media market. The decision came after the government’s economic concentration committee recommended rejecting Ofer’s request for a license to produce electricity, in order to reduce centralization in the economy. After he agreed to get rid of his media ventures and promised to withdraw from any involvement in the media industry over the next 25 years – the committee approved the granting of the license.
Ofer is also invested in soccer: He owns 33% of the Spanish football club Atletico Madrid, which ended the previous season in second place in the Spanish League, and is now at the top of the league. He is also owner of the Portuguese soccer group Famalicão, which recently ascended to the country’s premier league, for the first time in 25 years. (Daniel Isler)
Family members: Yitzhak and Haya Tshuva
Stock market value: $1,300,000,000
Total worth in 2018: $4,150,000,000
Yitzhak Tshuva’s activity in Israel’s natural gas market has yielded handsome profits. The revenues of the partners in the Tamar gas field totaled $2 billion in 2018, an increase of 4.5% compared to 2017. But Tshuva is not satisfied and seeks to augment his drilling portfolio even further. In the past year it was reported that the Delek Group, which he controls, signed an agreement to acquire about one-quarter of the Caesar Tonga natural gas reservoir in the Gulf of Mexico, for about $965 million, and also that the group has submitted a proposal for purchasing gas and oil fields in the British North Sea from the Chevron Corporation, for an estimated $1.82 billion. The group’s shares rose in the past year, and Tshuva received a dividend of about $50 million from the company.
In contrast to that frenetic activity, Delek Automotive Systems is apparently pulling down the group’s assets portfolio. The profitability of the company – importer of Mazda, Ford and BMW – plummeted in 2018; the year ended with a particularly poor quarter in which the firm lost 44 million shekels.
The acquisition of 70% of the Veridis infrastructure company for 992 million shekels in March 2018 did not help Delek Automotive: Veridis’ activity led to a loss of 3.5 million shekels in the last quarter of 2018. (Daniel Isler)
11. Adam Neumann
Total worth in 2018: $1,700,000,000
In 2010 Israeli-American businessman Adam Neumann established the WeWork shared workspace network with billionaire Miguel McKelvey, and since then the company has been steadily expanding. This pasts March it changed its name to The We Company. The rebranding attests to the company’s extensive activity, which now includes housing, education and software. The biggest investor in the company, whose worth is estimated at $45 billion, is the Japanese conglomerate SoftBank, which last November announced that it would invest another $3 billion in the company.
Born in Israel, Neumann spent several years during his youth in the United States and now lives in New York with his wife and five children. In the past year he has been the subject of claims of conflict of interest, since he rents out office space to WeWork in buildings he owns, and ostensibly profits indirectly from its activity. (Daniel Isler)
12. Arnon Milchan
Total value in 2018: $3,500,000,000
Arnon Milchan, 74, is a famous and successful film producer (“Pretty Woman,” “Bohemian Rhapsody”), but he earned his real money elsewhere: by trading in weaponry, planes, missiles and equipment for manufacturing nuclear bombs – transactions to which the State of Israel and later other countries were parties.
Milchan, who was born in Rehovot but later moved to north Tel Aviv with his family, did not initially work in the arms business. After his discharge from the Israel Defense Forces he went to study chemistry in Switzerland, in preparation for joining the family fertilizer business. When he was 21 his father died and Milchan began to run that business. Already then he used his family’s commercial platforms to import and export equipment for the nuclear industry, missiles, aircraft and many other goods – which for some reason the State of Israel preferred to purchase through him rather than directly from the manufacturers – and he received commissions and broker’s fees for many of the transactions.
Milchan’s name has been connected to Case 1000, involving suspicions that Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and his wife Sara received lavish gifts from him for years in the form of bribes. The draft of the charge sheet submitted in March by Attorney General Avichai Mendelblit explains how Milchan has had “a relationship in various forms” with Netanyahu, at least since 1999.
For Milchan, however, Netanyahu is only the latest in a long line of prime ministers and other leaders with whom he was friendly, including Ehud Olmert, Ariel Sharon, Shimon Peres, as well as generations of senior defense establishment officials and a long list of political leaders from Iran, South Africa and Canada. (Eytan Avriel)
13. Shaul Shani
Total worth in 2018: $3,500,000,000
In the early 1980s, Shaul Shani listed Oshap Technologies, the software company he founded with Oded Pollig, on the Nasdaq stock exchange in New York, and raised $6 million. In 1999 Oshap was sold to SunGard for $220 million. Later Shani created and then sold the Brazilian company Global Village Telecom, which provided a large telecom network in various regions in Brazil, with Shani’s ECI Telecom being one of its major equipment suppliers.
Now Shani is planning another important stock issue - during the past year he has been trying to list ECI on the London Stock Exchange. Shani acquired ECI in 2007, together with the British Ashmore Investment Management, for about $1.2 billion. After completion of the transaction the company was erased from Nasdaq. Shani now owns 80% of ECI shares. The need for the listing – valued at about $600 million – is partly due to the company's weak performance. Last November ECI announced a postponement, and the initial public offering has yet to take place. (Daniel Isler)
Family members: Michael, Liora, Irit, Ruth, Daniel, David, Gideon, Ami and Ronit Federmann
Stock market value: $3,107,000,000
Total worth in 2018: $3,500,000,000
The Federmanns are the controlling owners of Elbit Systems, owning approximately 45% of the company – worth about $2.5 billion. Elbit, the largest private defense electronics company in Israel, had experienced significant growth after acquiring IMI Systems (aka Ta’as) last November, for 1.9 billion shekels.
In April Elbit acquired U.S. firm Universal Avionics for $120 million, as well as the U.S. company Harris Night Vision for $350 million. Elbit System’s revenues rose by 9% in 2018, totaling $3.7 billion. Its cumulative orders increased as well.
The family is also the controlling owner (71%) of Dan Hotels, a stake worth about half-a-billion dollars. In February the chain acquired three hotels from the Israel Land Development Company's (Hachsharat Hayishuv's) Rimonim Hotel chain for 207 million shekels. (Daniel Isler)
15. Teddy Sagi
Stock market value: $2,000,000,000
Total worth in 2018: $3,400,000,000
Israeli-Cypriot businessman Teddy Sagi is known as an entrepreneur who accumulated his wealth from online betting. Today his main business activity focuses on international real estate, especially in Great Britain. Recently he sold his remaining holdings (4.6%) in Playtech, a supplier of software-based platforms to gambling websites, for $88 million, thus completing divestment from the company he started in 1999. Last October he announced that he is acquiring Sakal’s duty-free business for 40 million shekels.
In May Sagi made a large exit in the realm of online payment technology when SafeCharge, which he founded in 2007, was sold to the Canadian firm Nuvei in a transaction valued at $889 million. Sagi, owner of about 68% of SafeCharge, earned about $700 million from his investment in the company.
Sagi has consolidated his real estate operations into one company, LabTech, which is expected to focus on investments in London. Today the firm owns dozens of commercial assets, mainly in the Holborn area. Sagi also has holdings in the Camden Market area, London’s famous art and food market, now under single ownership for the first time. (Daniel Isler)
16. Yakir Gabay
Stock market value: $3,200,000,000
Total worth in 2018: $3,100,000,000
Israeli real estate tycoon Yakir Gabay, who lives in London, was born in Jerusalem. In 2004 he launched real estate operations in major cities in Germany, and later in Holland. Today he owns Aroundtown, the largest commercial real estate firm in Germany. His stake in the company (33.7%) is worth about $2.8 billion.
At the end of 2018 it was learned that Grand City Properties, which is controlled by Aroundtown, was aiming to expand its assets portfolio outside of Germany. The company acquired 1,200 housing units in London for about $650 million in cash. Apparently Gabay is exploiting the slowdown in the London market to enter into transactions below market price and thereby attain a better foothold there. (Daniel Isler)
17. Haim Saban
Stock market value: $192,500,000
Total worth in 2018: $3,550,000,000
Israeli-American billionaire Haim Saban made his fortune by producing TV programs for children in the 1980s – the “Power Rangers” series, in particular. In 2001 he sold the rights to the series, which remains popular and is still profitable, to Disney; in 2011 he bought them back. About a year ago Saban sold all the rights to the brand and its products to the American toy company Hasbro, for $520 million. In Israel, Saban’s main business interest is his stake in telecom operator Partner Communications. (Daniel Isler)
Stock market value: $784,000,000
Total worth in 2018: $2,650,000,000
Marius Nacht founded Check Point in 1993 together with Gil Shwed and Shlomo Kramer. Over the years he has reduced his stake in the company; in the past two years it declined from 12% to only 3.9% – worth about $800 million. Nacht’s income from the shares he sold totaled $1.3 billion. Together with Dr. Yair Schindel, Nacht manages the aMoon Fund, health-tech and life sciences venture fund, which recently raised $660 million for its second fund.
Nacht shares his wealth with his former wife, attorney Anat Agmon. In 2017 Agmon invested about 106 million shekels to acquire the financial daily Globes, together with Alona Bar-On. (Daniel Isler)
19. Mori Arkin
Total worth in 2018: $2,000,000,000
Mori Arkin, the son of Russian immigrants, was born and grew up in Ramat Gan, where his parents owned a pharmacy. The family founded the Agis drug company, which at first dealt mainly in imports; in 2004 it was sold to U.S. drug manufacturer Perrigo for 831 million shekels. When the Bezeq telecom company was privatized in 2005, Arkin was one of the buyers, along with Haim Saban and the Apex Fund. Arkin later sold his shares in the company at a considerable profit, and today focuses on biomed investments. (Daniel Isler)
20. Ehud Angel
Total worth in 2018: $2,200,000,000
Ehud (Udi) Angel was married to Liora Ofer and his business interests were tied to those of the Ofer family even after the couple divorced in 1995. Angel serves as chairman of the Ofer Brothers Group and has holdings in the company’s shipping businesses as well as the Israel Corporation.
Since 2006 Angel, along with Idan Ofer, has been a controlling owner of Israel's Reshet television franchise. In late 2017 the Channel 2 broadcasts were split into a separate channel for each franchisee. Due to financial difficulties – stemming mainly from the slowdown in the advertising market in general, and in television in particular – the operations of Channel 13 (Reshet) and Channel 10 were merged this past January. Billionaire Len Blavatnik, who was one of the owners of Channel 10, attained control over the new channel. (Daniel Isler)
Family members: Michael Strauss, Raya Strauss-Ben Dror, Ofra Strauss, Irit Strauss, Adi Strauss, Nava Michael, Gili Madin and Rani Madin
Stock market value: $1,605,000,000
Total worth in 2018: $2,000,000,000
The Strauss family is the owner of the third-largest food products manufacturer in Israel, after Coca-Cola and Tnuva. The value of the family’s holdings in the Strauss Group – which reported an increase in operational profits in 2018 – is about $1.7 billion today. (Daniel Isler)
22. The Ungar family
Family members: Abraham and Yael Ungar
Abraham (Rami) Ungar, an international shipping mogul and one of Israel’s largest motor-vehicle importers, among them Kia cars, has had a history of ties to local politicians. That was true right from the start of his business career, in the early 1970s. Those same ties also led to his past involvement in two major scandals, one of them connected to Ezer Weizman.
In the mid-1980s, when Weizman was a government minister, Ungar gave him $27,000 in small monthly installments. Years later, this story led to Weizman’s resignation from the presidency of the country.
The second affair relates to Shula Zaken’s wiretappings of her boss, then-Prime Minister Ehud Olmert, in which it was revealed that Ungar was supposed to pay Zaken $10,000 a month to refrain from testifying against Olmert. Another close friend of Ungar’s is minister Yoav Gallant (Likud), for whom Ungar purchased tickets for the World Cup finals in July 2018. His name also came up in the trial of businessman Nochi Dankner, because of a loan of 20 million shekels from Ungar. (Yael Belkin)
Family members: Shmuel, Yoav and Tamara Harlap
Total worth in 2018: $2,000,000,000
The Harlap family is the owner of Colmobil, which imports Mercedes, Mitsubishi and Hyundai cars. Shmuel Harlap, chairman of Colmobil, was among the first investors in Mobileye (inventor of technology for autonomous driving), which was sold in 2017 to Intel for $15.3 billion. Harlap held 7% of Mobileye, and received about $1 billion from the acquisition.
Today Colmobil is expanding its operations into two new fields: personalized importing of secondhand Mercedes cars, and development of a digital platform for selling cars. (Daniel Isler)
24. The Mirilashvili family
Family members: Michael and Yitzhak Mirilashvili
Total worth in 2018: $1,800,000,000
Israeli-Georgian businessman Michael Mirilashvili made his first fortune, in the 1990s, as a partner to his father’s real estate business in the CIS. In 1995 he immigrated to Israel with his family and now deals in diamonds, high-tech, media, energy and real estate. Today he is also involved in building up his company Water-Gen, which develops devices that produce water from air. In the past year there were complaints that Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu had been helping to promote Water-Gen, possibly in contravention of the law.
In 2006, Michael's son Yitzhak was one of the founders of VKontakte, the fourth-largest social network in the world, used by half a billion people, mainly in the former Soviet Union. The controlling owner and chairman of the company, Yitzhak sold his share in the successful firm for over $1 billion in 2013. Today he is invested in a number of high-tech, real estate and infrastructure companies. He is also the owner of Channel 20, which started out as a Jewish Heritage channel, and today broadcasts current events and news programs. The channel has experienced financial difficulties over the years, and recently underwent a round of layoffs. (Daniel Isler)
Family members: Hasia, Drorit and David Wertheim
Stock exchange value: $1,400,000,000
Total worth in 2018: $1,700,000,000
Siblings David (Dudi) and Drorit Wertheim are the children of Moshe “Muzi” Wertheim, who died in 2016. Since 2012 Dudi Wertheim has been the controlling owner and chairman of the Central Bottling Company – the Coca Cola Israel Group; for about 20 years he has been the controlling owner of the Alony Hetz real estate company. Four years before his death, Muzi divided his holdings in the Central Bottling Company and Bank Mizrahi between his two children: two-thirds to Dudi and one-third to Drorit.
Dudi Wertheim is also the controlling owner of Keshet (Channel 12), with Drorit serving as the chairman of its board of directors. In the past year there have been conflicts between the siblings regarding management of the channel – yet another chapter in their poor relationship, which turned sour due to the unequal division of their father’s inheritance. (Daniel Isler)
26. Laurent Levy
Total worth in 2018: $975,000,000
French-Jewish businessman Laurent Levy founded Optical Center, the international chain that sells visual and auditory aids, some 27 years ago. Today it has over 560 branches in Europe and Canada, and an estimated value of 1.28 billion euros. In Israel, where the chain became established in 2015, it operates only branches.
In addition, Levy owns real estate worth about 400 million euros and is presently concentrating his activities in that realm in Israel – for patriotic reasons, he says. He owns about 50 luxury apartments in central Jerusalem, which he rents out to wealthy Jews who come to visit Israel. (Itamar Cohen)
27. The Sagol family
Family members: Sami, Itzhak and Yossi Sagol
Total worth in 2018: $1,650,000,000
Brothers Sami and Itzhak Sagol inherited Keter Plastics, a family business, from their father. The company grew under the brothers’ management until it became a huge international manufacturer; in 2016 it was sold to the international investment fund BC Partners. The transaction, in which the fund acquired 80% of Keter, earned the family about $1.2 billion.
Sami Sagol invests in biotechnology and medical innovation, and is one of the prominent donors to the Israeli space project Beresheet. (Daniel Isler)
Family members: Joe, Rafi and Avi Nakash
Total worth in 2018: $1,570,000,000
Brothers Joe, Rafi and Avi Nakash are the founders of the American jeans company Jordache, which began as a clothing store in Brooklyn in the late 1960s. Today the family is involved in real estate and hotel ventures around the world; they own many assets in Israel, including the Orchid hotel chain and part of the Amcor real estate corporation, whose assets are estimated at 1.6 billion shekels.
Recently the Nakash Group launched a hotel brand called Herbert Samuel. In addition, it has announced the opening of another three hotels under its luxury brand, Setai. The total investment in the new hotels is over 1 billion shekels. (Daniel Isler)
29. George Horesh
Total worth in 2018: $1,025,000,000
Iranian-Israeli businessman George Horesh is the owner of Union Motors, the official Israeli importer of Toyota and Lexus. Horesh started working with the Japanese automotive giant in the late 1960s, when he was still living in Iran, importing tens of thousands of Toyota cars to Israel. Union Motors has annual revenues of over 4 billion shekels, with a net profit of hundreds of millions of shekels.
In 2010 Horesh received the Israeli franchise for the H&M fashion chain. In addition, Union Motors has significant investments with a cumulative value of billions of dollars in Israel, Great Britain, the United States and Canada. Horesh’s latest acquisition is one-third of the Super-Pharm pharmacy chain, for which it paid over half a billion shekels. Horesh’s son, Andrew, CEO of Union Motors and H&M Israel, is expected to inherit him in the future. (Itamar Cohen)
30. Sylvan Adams
Sylvan Adams’ name has been in the headlines in Israel in the past two years, mainly for bringing the annual Italian bicycle race Giro d’Italia to the country last year, and for underwriting Madonna’s performance at the Eurovision Song Contest in Tel Aviv in May. Adams is heir to a real estate empire started by his father Marcel, a Holocaust survivor who immigrated from Romania to Canada in the 1950s, and made his fortune in the private family company Iberville Developments.
Adams immigrated to Israel in 2015 (when he purchased a seaside penthouse in Tel Aviv for 120 million shekels), and since then his objective has been to show the beautiful face of Israel to the world. To date he is the only Israeli member of Giving Pledge, a campaign started by Warren Buffett and Bill Gates to encourage wealthy people to contribute a majority of their wealth to philanthropic causes.
In that context, he has invested in the first Olympic indoor cycling arena in the Middle East – the Velodrome – in Tel Aviv; the SpaceIL initiative to land the first Israeli spaceship on the moon; the Institute for Sports Research at Tel Aviv University, and more. Adams is a passionate cyclist, and a co-owner of the Israel Cycling Academy. (Amir Tadmor)