Forbes magazine published its annual list of “The World’s Billionaires” on Wednesday, piquing widespread interest in the world's richest people, including in Israel which saw 13 of its own citizens make the exclusive list.
Among the 1,226 people listed in this year’s ranking, Idan Ofer, son of the late shipping tycoon Sammy Ofer who died in June of last year, topped the list of Israeli billionaires, coming in at the 161st spot with a net worth of $6.2 billion. Trailing not far behind Ofer in the 169th spot, is Beny Steinmetz, who made his fortune in diamonds and real estate, and has an estimated net value of $5.9 billion. Sammy Ofer’s second son, Eyal Ofer who has a net worth of $5.8 billion, ranks third among the Israeli billionaires and 173rd on the Forbes overall list. Stef Wertheimer, who sold his industrial cutting tool manufacturer company Iscar to Warren Buffett in 2006 and, together with his family, has an estimated net worth of $4.2 billion was ranked 255th on the list.
In 288th place is Israel’ richest woman, Shari Arison, who has a net worth of $3.9 billion. Arison inherited shares from her late father Ted Arison in Carnival Cruises, Bank Hapoalim and the infrastructure giant, Shikun u’Binui Holdings Ltd.
Just two spots after Arison is Hollywood producer Arnon Milchan who founded New Regency Productions in 1991 and has a net worth of $3.8 billion.
Alexander Machkevich, Israel’s seventh richest citizen, built the Eurasian Natural Resources Co., a metals and mining empire in Kazakhstan, and has a net worth of $2.8 billion, putting him in 418th place on the Forbes list. Machkevich was the former head of the Euro-Asian Jewish Congress but resigned from the position to focus on creating a Jewish version of Al-Jazeera, expected to start broadcasting in mid-2012.
Gil Shwed, founder and CEO of Israeli IT security giant Check Point Software Technologies Ltd. ranks in 683rd place with a net worth of $1.9 billion. Tied with Shwed is self-made billionaire and owner of the Delek Group, Yitzhak Tshuva, with a net worth of $1.9 billion.
Lev Leviev, described by Forbes as a “diamond king,” takes the 764th spot on the list, with a net worth of $1.7 billion. Born in Uzbekistan, Leviev fled to Israel in 1971 and is the president of the Federation of Jewish Communities in Russia.
The remaining Israeli billionaires on the Forbes list are: Marius Nacht, co-founder of Check Point, in 1015th place with a net worth of $1.2 billion; Teddy Sagi, founder of internet gaming site Playtech, who is tied with Nacht in the 1015th spot; and the last Israeli billionaire on the list, Morris Kahn, who made his fortune as one of the original investors in Amdocs, and is ranked in 1153th place with a net worth of $1 billion.
And who is the world’s richest man? According to the Forbes list, Mexican telecommunications tycoon Carlos Slim Helu and his family rank in first place with a net worth of a whopping $69 billion. Helu has held the title for the third year in a row despite the fact that his fortune has decreased.
Microsoft founder Bill Gates, the richest American citizen, follows Helu in second place on the list with a net worth of $61 billion.
The famous investor Warren Buffett takes the third place spot with a net worth of $44 billion.
Twenty-seven-year-old Mark Zuckerberg, the youngest billionaire on the list and Facebook founder, ranks in 35th place with a net worth of $17.5 billion.