Shipping magnate Ofer at top of Abramovich-less rich list
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Shipping magnate Ofer at top of Abramovich-less rich list

Ranking of wealthiest Israelis finalized before Chelsea-owning Russian-Jewish billionaire immigrated, catapulting him to top of roster

Aviva Ofer, wife of the late Sammy Ofer, flanked by their sons, Eyal (r) and Idan (l), cuts the ribbon at event at Rambam Medical Center in Haifa. (photo credit: Paul Melling-RHCC)
Aviva Ofer, wife of the late Sammy Ofer, flanked by their sons, Eyal (r) and Idan (l), cuts the ribbon at event at Rambam Medical Center in Haifa. (photo credit: Paul Melling-RHCC)

TheMarker business daily released its list of the 500 wealthiest Israelis this week, though one name was noticeably absent from the top of the ranks.

The newspaper said the rankings were already finalized before Roman Abramovich, a Russian-Jewish billionaire, immigrated to Israel last month following difficulties renewing his British visa.

Abramovich, who owns London’s Chelsea soccer club, is worth $12.5 billion according to the British press, which made him Israel’s richest citizen upon moving to the country.

In Abramovich’s absence, topping this year’s rankings was Eyal Ofer, a shipping and real estate magnate worth $9.3 billion according to the newspaper. Ofer owns shipping firm Zodiac Group, and real estate firm Global Holdings.

In this March 22, 2014 file photo, Chelsea’s Russian owner Roman Abramovich applauds his players after they defeated Arsenal 6-0 in an English Premier League soccer match at Stamford Bridge stadium in London. (AP Photo/Alastair Grant, File)

Ofer’s father Sami Ofer owned a controlling stake in the shipping giant Zim in 2004, making him one of Israel’s richest men for years.

Eyal Ofer’s brother Idan Ofer, who also owns parts of their late father’s empire, was 15th on the list, with a $2.25 billion estimated net worth.

In second on the list at $9 billion was the family of Stef Wertheimer, a German-born Israeli industrialist who started one of the world’s largest companies for metalworking tools.

Patrick Drahi, a French-Israeli businessman who owns the Netherlands-based telecoms firm Altrice, placed third with a $6.5 billion evaluation, according to The Marker.

Shari Arison (photo credit: Yossi Zeliger/Flash90)
Shari Arison (photo credit: Yossi Zeliger/Flash90)

Shari Arison, Israel’s richest woman, was fourth on the list with a net worth of $5.5 billion. Much of her wealth comes from a controlling interest in Carnival Cruise Line and Bank Hapoalim, Israel’s largest bank.

Rounding out the top five was the Azrieli family, whose late patriarch David Azrieli built a number of malls in Israel, including Tel Aviv’s Azrieli Center.

At sixth on the list was Gil Shwed, a founder and CEO of Israeli cybersecurity firm CheckPoint. Shwed, whose was wealth was put at $4.2 billion, was named earlier this year as the winner of the first-ever Israel Prize in technology and innovation.

Check Point CEO Gil Shwed speaks at the Cybertech Israel Conference and Exhibition, in Tel Aviv on January 31, 2017. (Miriam Alster/Flash90)

Shwed was followed by the Tshuva family, with a net worth of $4.15 billion. Yitzhak Tsuvha, a member of the family, chairs the real estate company El-Ad Group, and owns the controlling stake in Delek Group, an energy conglomerate.

At eight and nine were a pair of Israelis who made their fortunes in the US entertainment industry.

Haim Saban, a television mogul and top donor to Democrats, was worth $3.55 billion. Arnon Milchan, a Hollywood movie producer, was ranked just behind Saban at $3.5 billion.

Milchan’s name has featured prominently in Israeli media over the past year in a corruption case involving Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. Police said Milchan gave Netanyahu and his wife Sara an estimated NIS 750,000 ($212,000) in gifts, including cigars and champagne, in exchange for advancing his interests.

Police in February recommended Milchan and Netanyahu be charged in the investigation, which is known as Case 1000. Both men deny wrongdoing.

Producer Arnon Milchan accepts the Film Tribute Award at the 26th Annual Gotham Independent Film Awards at Cipriani Wall Street, November 28, 2016, in New York. (Evan Agostini/Invision/AP)

Following Milchan was businessman and investor Shaul Shani at 10th place with $3.5 billion.

Rounding at the top slots were the Federmann family, which owns Dan Hotels chain and Elbit defense firm, at $3.5 billion; Teddy Sagi, who owns the Playtech gambling technology company, at $3.4 billion; real estate magnate Yakir Gabbay at $3.1 billion; and CheckPoint cofounder Marius Nacht and his ex-wife Anat Agmon at $2.65 billion.

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