Economic Concentration Keeps on Growing / 19 Families Controlled a Third of the Entire Economy in 2006

If you started your day by speaking on your Cellcom phone on your way to a Super-Sol grocery store, before meeting your Clal Insurance agent, then you contributed to Nochi Dankner's growing wealth - he controls all three companies and dozens more.

You should know you have helped Dankner become the champion of Israeli economic concentration and control in 2006 for the second consecutive year, increasing his revenues by 15 percent over 2005.

According to the Concentration Index, Dankner now takes in 18.7 percent of the revenues of the 19 families who exercise the greatest control over the Israeli economy. In comparison, Sami and Yuli Ofer, who follow Dankner on the list, "only" make 12.8 percent of the total revenues of these families.

The top five families on the list, including Yitzhak Tshuva, David Weissman and Haim Saban, control 61 percent of the income of these 19 families - up from 54 percent in 2005.

The total income of these 19 families is NIS 248 billion for 2006, which is about one third of the revenues of the 500 leading Israeli companies, which together saw revenues of NIS 722 billion last year.

The annual income of the 19 families is equal to 88 percent of the state budget or 54 percent of the business sector's share of GDP.

Others on the list include Shari Arison, Zadik Bino, Lev Leviev, David Azrieli and Eliezer Fishman.

The Concentration Index measures the wealth of families who control companies that affect all aspects of our lives. The index does not only measure wealth, but the effect of these companies on our lives. The index also does not take into account the family's share of ownership in the companies, but only the total income of the firms.

Compared to 2005, only five families increased their income. Tshuva almost doubled his after buying the Phoenix insurance company from the Shachar and Kaz families, while Bino saw his income grow 46 percent by buying the Ashdod Oil Refineries.

The Shachar-Kaz families saw the greatest drop in influence, 66 percent, after selling off the Phoenix.

The new additions to the list in 2006 were real estate magnate David Azrieli and Shaul Elovitch. The surprise is that the Wertheimer family, Stef and Eitan, dropped off the list after the sale of Iscar to Warren Buffett.