(photo credit: REUTERS)
Recent years have seen a rise in the rate in which businessmen acquire properties and profits in the country, with certain entities turning in billions of dollars into assets. Currently there are 116 billionaires living in Israel, and their fortunes combined stand together at a whopping 168 billion USD, according to Israel's The Marker magazine.
The magazine released its annual ranking, modeled after Forbes magazine's famous list, on Tuesday, revealing the names that stand behind some of the powerhouse financial brands in 2017.
Some of them are household names, while others are business moguls who in their anonymity have flown right over your radar and on to the next staggering deal. These are the five most affluent people in Israel as of 2017:
Israel's richest businessman is media mogul Patrick Drahi. The French businessman, born in Morocco, owns some of the country's leading telecommunications and media outlet companies. In 2014, Forbes ranked Drahi as the richest man in Israel, and in 2015 he came in at number 57 on the magazine's list of the world's richest people.
Drahi's stock value stands at 17 billion USD and his fortune is estimated at 14 billion USD.
In Israel, Drahi holds significant stocks in the HOT cable television company (formerly known as Mirs Communications Ltd.) and has founded news channel i24 News. Drahi is also the founder and controlling shareholder of telecom group Altice.
Ranking at number two is Israel's royal family, at least when it comes to the finance world. The Wertheimers' fortune as of 2017 is estimated at 8.7 billion USD. The father of the family is German-born investor, industrialist and philanthropist Stefan (Stef) Wertheimer.
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The industrial titan, founder of ISCAR Ltd., is mostly known for his efforts to promote regional peace through the construction of industrial parks in impoverished, predominantly Arab regions of Israel. In 2010, Wertheimer was awarded the Oslo Business for Peace Award for these endeavors.
Coming in third is Israel's Shari Arison, the New-York born businesswoman and philanthropist whose stock value stands at 2.1 billion USD and whose total fortune in 2017 has been estimated at 5/2 billion USD.
Arison, who is the regular target of Israeli's media insistent jabs, is considered to be the richest woman in the Middle East according to Forbes and the owner of Arison Investments. Among her companies is Bank Hapoalim, one of the country's main banks.
The heiress, whose father is renowned businessman Ted Arison, isn't preoccupied solely with business ventures and has also initiated Israel's Good Deeds Day
Number four on the list is Hollywood producer and businessman Arnon Milchan. Milchan, who holds stocks at Israel's Channel 10, co-owns the independent production company "New Regency" along with media mogul Rupert Murdock. His total fortune as on 2017 is estimated at 5.1 billion USD.
Milchan, who has produced blockbusters such as "Pretty Woman," has recently been embroiled in a highly controversial affair at the midst of which is Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.
In the beginning of the year reports surfaced alleging that Milchan, who is a close friend and confidant of the premier, had bestowed lavish gifts on the prime minister and his wife Sara
over the years such as cigars and champagne. The presents were estimated to be worth hundreds of thousands of shekels, and the police opened an investigation that is now dubbed Case 1000.
The Netanyahus have firmly denied the allegations, with the premier claiming that that there were just "presents exchanged among friends."
Danna Azrieli and the Azrieli heirs
Last but not least is David Azrieli's family business, which has encouraged Israelis countrywide to shop till they drop.
Businessman, architect and billionaire David Azrieli, who spearheaded the Azrieli Group which owns dozens of shopping centers across the country, passed away at 92 in 2014, leaving the family business to his heirs.
The family fortunes are estimated at 4.5 billion USD, and at their helm now stands Danna Azrieli (49), Azrieli's youngest daughter who took over as CEO of the group.
Azrieli, a lawyer who was born and raised in Canada, also acts as the representative of the family's shareholders and is the CEO of the Azrieli Israel Foundation, which seeks to promote education and culture in the country.
Other notable business people that were included in this year's list were Israeli-American media proprietor and philanthropist Haim Saban (who ranked at number 11), business magnate Yitzhak Tshuva and his family and the Strauss family, whose company is the largest foods manufacturer in Israel.
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