The New York Times has a front-page news article under the headline "Protests Force Israel to Confront Wealth Gap." It reports that "a handful of wealthy families" — "the Ofers, the Dankners, the Tshuvas, the Fishmans and others — account for the 10 biggest business groups in the country and together control some 30 percent of the economy." It goes on, "Although Israel's economy is strong, the data on wealth concentration, published by the Bank of Israel, are unsettling...the Bank of Israel study shows that while the United States, Britain and Germany have much less concentration of wealth than Israel, it is not so different from several other democracies. Based on the holdings of the 10 largest business families, Israel is in about the same situation as Switzerland, France and Belgium, and its wealth is far less concentrated than is the case in Sweden."
Infuriatingly, the Times article provides no link to the Bank of Israel study, and I was unable to locate it on the Bank of Israel Web site. (The bank is closed now, otherwise I would have tried to get a copy). But reliable data of this type for wealth — as opposed to for income — is hard to come by.
A FutureOfCapitalism reader-participant-watchdog-community-member-content co-creator comments that if the study is correct, it's the countries like Sweden, Israel, France, and Belgium, with relatively high taxes and government spending, that have higher wealth concentration than do America, Britain, and Germany, which are somewhat more free market oriented: "Notwithstanding the constant drumbeat of the Left that our free market system generates the wealth (or income) disparity they so despise, in fact the opposite is true. Socialist countries have greater concentration than capitalist ones. And the answer is not simply the sloppy denationalization of industries [in Israel] described in the article. That hasn't happened in Sweden (to my knowledge). The answer also has to do with the limitations of growth and political decisionmaking inherent in a socialist system."