June 23, 2011, Updated September 12, 2012

Israel boasted 10,153 millionaires in 2010, according to a new Merrill Lynch-Capgemini 2011 World Wealth Report.

The annual survey showed that the number of Israeli millionaires rose 20.6 percent from 2009, when there were ‘just’ 8,419 millionaires. The report also found that the gross amount of capital of Israeli millionaires in 2010 rose to $52 billion, compared to the $43 billion from the previous year.

And while over 10,000 Israeli millionaires is nothing to shrug about, the ‘World Wealth Report’ said there were a whopping 10.9 million millionaires around the world in 2010.

So, who is a millionaire? According to the report, a millionaire is anyone with at least $1 million in net liquidity, not including investments, and after deducting liabilities.

Israel also has 12 billionaires with fortunes of over $1.5 billion, according to the 2011 Forbes Rich List. In 2010, Israel listed 10 billionaires on the Forbes list.

Here’s a rundown of Israel’s richest men and women in 2011:

1. The family of the late Sammy Ofer: $10.3 billion.
Sammy Ofer, who died earlier this month, left his family with assets in shipping, banking and real estate. The Ofer family owns the holding company Israel Corporation, which is associated with Israel Chemicals. They also own Zim shipping lines and the Royal Caribbean cruise line.
Sammy Ofer was a self-made billionaire. He was born in Romania in 1922 and emigrated with his family to Mandate Palestine in 1924. He started his career as a delivery boy for a shipping company, and he bought his first ship in 1950.

2. Beny Steinmetz: $6 billion.
Chair of Geneva-headquartered Steinmetz Diamond Group made headlines in April 2010 when he sold a 51% stake in his Guinean iron ore mining company to Brazil’s Vale for $2.5 billion. He also has stakes in Canadian gold and silver miner Gabriel Resources.

3. Shari Arison: $5.1 billion.
Shari Arison is Israel’s wealthiest woman. She controls Bank Hapoalim and Housing & Construction. Her stake in Carnival Cruise increased 10% in value over last 12 months.

4. Arnon Milchen: $4 billion.
Israeli movie producer Arnon Milchen recently announced extension of partnership with fellow mogul Rupert Murdoch’s News Corp. until March 2022. Milchen is a self-made billionaire. The married father of four also has dealings in agriculture, aerospace, plastics, fiber optics and pharmaceuticals.

5. Wertheimer family: $4 billion.
Stef Wertheimer and his son, Eitan, continue to enjoy the capital accumulated from the sale of 80% of Iscar to Warren Buffet’s Berkshire Holdings in 2006. The Wertheimers also have four industrial parks in Israel.

6. Alexander Machkevich: $3.7 billion.
Yet another self-made Israeli businessman, who made most of his fortune in mining in Kazakhstan.

7. Yitzhak Tshuva: $2.6 billion.
Yitzhak Tshuva announced in August that newly discovered oil and gas field Leviathan, controlled by a subsidiary of Tshuva’s Delek Group, is estimated to contain 16 trillion cubic feet of easily recoverable gas. In addition to natural gas, Tshuva is the owner of some of America’s most valuable real estate ventures. He also has interests in car dealerships, cable TV and car insurance.
8.David Azrieli: $2.5 billion.
According to Globes, the Canadian-Israeli designer David Azrieli is a new entry on the list of Israeli billionaires. Azrieli is credited for bringing the shopping mall to Israel. In 1954, Azrieli launched his career by borrowing money to build four duplexes in a Montreal suburb. He put his small profits toward another round of apartments and continued to build residences until he moved into the area that he is now known for: commercial development.

9. Gil Shwed: $2 billion.
Back on the list is Gil Shwed, who co-founded Check Point Software Technologies. Shares of his cyber-security firm jumped more than 70% in the past 12 months, giving Shwed’s stake a value of $2 billion including options.

10. Lev Leviev: $1.6 billion.
The diamond and real estate magnate is trying to recover investor confidence after a large debt settlement in 2009. Leviev is considered the world’s largest cutter and polisher of diamonds. And thanks to new markets in India and China is benefiting from diamond recovery.

11. Shaul Shani: $1.5 billion.
Globes newspaper refers to Shaul Shani as “one of the most liquid Israelis in the world.” The title comes from his sale of the controlling core of Brazilian telecom GVT for $1.3 billion, reflecting a company value of $4.2 billion.

12. Teddy Sagi: $1.5 billion.
Teddy Sagi founded the gaming site Playtech, which he took public in London Stock Exchange in 2006 and now owns stocks. He also dabbles in real estate in Europe, owns several e-commerce services and has an e-payment company. Sagi reportedly bought the most expensive home in Israel last December for some $35 million.



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