Richest families extend grip on Israeli economy

BDI's concentration index rose 4% in 2005: 18 families control 50% of Israel’s business product.

The top 18 influential families in Israel are Ofer, Arison, Borovich, Bino, Hamburger, Wiessman, Wertheim, Zisapel, Leviev, Federman Saban, Fishman, Shachar, Kass, Strauss, Shmeltzer Tshuva and Nochi Danker.

These so-called controlling families own 32% or NIS 198 billion of the total income of the top 500 companies in Israel. Their aggregate revenue is the equivalent of 77% of the state budget (NIS 256 billion) and approximately 50% of the country's business product.

The phrase “18 families” sounds like a line from the script of an on-screen meeting between Tony Soprano and colleagues, but in fact it is a key term in the concentration index released today by Business Data Israel (BDI). The index recorded a 4% increase in concentration levels in the Israeli market in 2005.

The index, explain the editors, relates to families with controlling interests in companies that influence and manage businesses affecting all areas of life. It does not, however, assess their personal wealth.

Other families with either financial assets of a similar volume but a lesser degree of influence on the economy, or assets accrued from activities abroad, were not assessed by the index. It also did not examine celebrity families with no interests at all in the business sector.

”Concentration levels in the Israeli economy have increased, despite the ongoing process of privatization,” note the editors, “and not only have they not reduced concentration levels but they have even intensified them further.”

Published by Globes [online], Israel business news - - on February 13, 2006

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