6 Canadian Jews on Forbes' Rich List

Forbes' list climbes to 1,210 billionaires, 6 of which are Canadian Jews and 16 Israelis.

Published: March 13th 2011
in Economics » Local

Jeffrey Skoll
David Azrieli
Barry Sherman

While this past year has been difficult finanically for many, it has also been very good for others. According to the 2011 Forbes Billionaires' List, the number of billionaires worldwide has increased this year.


The total number of people on the list climbed to 1,210 billionaires, with a combined wealth of $4.5 trillion, up $900 million from last year.


The top Canadian Jew on the list is Jeffrey Skoll, No. 347 spot, Ebay's first employee and president who has a net worth of $3.2 billion. After cashing out from Ebay, Skoll has been focusing on social change by making films such as An Inconvenient Truth and Waiting for Superman, through his company, Participant Media.


Next on the list is David Azrieli, No. 362, with a net worth of $3.1 billion. Born in Makow, Poland, Azrieli fled Europe during World War II for what was then Palestine. After studying architecture at the Technion, he moved to Montreal where he began real estate career which eventually led to his founding of Canpro Investments. Azrieli has built a number of very well known Israeli commercial centeres, one of which is the Azrieli Center in Tel Aviv, the largest real estate project in Israel and the Middle East. In June 2010 he completed the largest private IPO in Israel's history, selling 25% of shares for $700 million.


Third on the list is Barry Sherman at No. 393 with a net worth of $2.9 billion. Sherman is the founder of Apotex, the generic drug maker, whose sales today exceed $1 billion annually.


Forth on the list is Charles Bronfman at No. 595 with a net worth of $2 billion. Charles, along with his brother, Edgar Sr., inherited the Seagram spirits empire which was founded by their father, and sold to Vivendi in 2000. Bronfman helped found Birthright Israel which sends to Israel Jewish youths from North America who have never been there.


Tied with Bronfman is Daryl Katz at No. 595 with equal net worth of $2 billion. Katz made his fortune by buying distressed pharmacies and eventually creating Rexall, one of the biggest chains of pharmacies with 1,925 locations. Katz also owns and operated Canada's only mail order pharmacy business, Meditrust Pharmacy Inc. Katz bought the Edmonton Oilers in 2008 for $200 million.


Last on the list is Gerald Schwartz at No. 1140 with a net worth of $1 billion. Born in Winnipeg, Manitoba, Schwartz co-founded CanWest Global Communication Inc. in 1977, followed by Onex Corporation in 1983. Schwartz married Heather Reisman, Chief Executive of Indigo Books and Music, and together they founded the Schwartz/Reisman Centre.


And while no Canadian Jews made the top 100 on the list, there are several Jews who did.


The highest Jewish person on the list is Larry Ellison of Oracle at No. 5 with a net worth of $39.5 billion.


New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg was next at No. 17 with $16 billion, followed by Google co-founders Sergey Brin and Larry Page, who were tied for 24th with $17.5 billion each.


Soros landed at 35th with $14 billion. Mark Zuckerberg, founder and CEO of Facebook earned the 52nd spot with a net worth of $13.5 billion. Brazilian banking investment mogul Joseph Safra at 6th with $10 billion and casino mogul Sheldon Adelson at 73rd with $9.3 billion.


Another Facebook employee, Dustin Moskovitz, made his debut on the list as the youngest billionaire at No. 420 with a net worth of $2.7 billion. He is 26 years old.


Out of 1,210 billionaires, 16 are Israeli with Checkpoint Chairman and CEO Gil Shwed leading the pack at No. 41 with a net worth of $1.6 billion.

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