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JEWS AND REAL ESTATE



Most of Jewish American wealth is self-made in the last century or so (as opposed to Gentile-inherited opulence), [WHITFIELD, American, p. 7] a trajectory that has no reason to plateau. About half of the Jewish super-rich built their fortunes in real estate and construction, most notably in the New York City area, but also all across the country, including Detroit, San Francisco, Miami, Washington DC, Indianapolis, and Oklahoma City. [LIPSET, p. 15]  Edward S. Shapiro specifically cites Jewish "real estate barons" Alfred Taubman in Detroit, Melvin Simon in Indianapolis, Stephen Muss in Miami, Monte and Alfe Goldman in Oklahoma City and Walter Shorenstein in San Francisco. [SHAPIRO, 1987, p. 14]  

"In real estate and construction," adds Abraham Korman, "there have been major Jewish builders in San Francisco (Walter Shorenstein), Detroit (Philip and Max Stollman), New York (Samuel Lefrak), and Washington [DC] (Charles Smith) ... Melvin Simon of Indianapolis is one of the major shopping center developers in this country." [KORMAN, p. 24]  The Simon Property Group is indeed "the nation's largest mall owner in the United States, " including the Mall of America in Minneapolis. [MOTHER JONES, 5-3-01] "In the construction and real estsate fields," notes Milton Presur, "there are such giants as Webb and Knapp; the Uris Brothers; Tishman; Levitt; and Rudin and Wolfson Enterprises." [PRESUR, M., 1982, p. 163]
 
San Francisco's Walter Shorenstein owns "one of the nation's largest and healthiest real estate empires," [KING, R., p. AS1] worth $405 million. He was noted in 1999 by the San Francisco Examiner as "San Francisco's biggest landlord," owning "about 25 percent of the city's downtown rental property." [BRAZIL, E., 11-5-99, p. A4]  Also in San Francisco, Richard Swig -- winner of Israel's Golda Meir award -- founded the posh Fairmount hotel chain; he also served as on positions for the Anti-Defamation League and the Jewish Community Federation. By the 1880s, Adolph Sutro, a Jewish immigrant from Prussia, alone owned "roughly one-twelfth of the land in San Francisco." He also became the mayor of the city. [NEWITZ, A., 1-13-99]

In a March 2000 letter to an online magazine, famed San Francisco poet Lawrence Ferlinghetti singled out a Jewish real estate developer who was central in the cultural destruction of that city:

        "A developer from Michigan, Scott Seligman, who runs Sterling Bank and Seligman
        Western Enterprises, wants to gentrify the Mid-Market zone. Not  to make the City
        a better place but to make his bank account a little fatter. He wants a bretter class of
        tenant. No more photographers or poets or  translators or editors or painters.
        No more small businesses serving the City."  [FERLINGHETTI, 3-8-01]
 
In 1989 the Los Angeles Times called Martin Selig "Seattle's biggest property owner." He had recently sold Seattle's tallest building for $354 million. [DIETRICH, B., 11-20-89, p. D1]  A decade earlier in Seattle, Forbes noted that Jack Benaroya (also Jewish), "for 30 years built the Seattle area's largest real estate empire: 8 million commercial square feet, about 90% industrial, including 5 business parks." [FORBES, 10-27-86, p. 290]
 
Another Jewish real estate developer, William Levitt, is credited -- or blamed - for the creation of "massive tract developments of single family homes ... He shaped the American dream, a house of one's own for a small down payment and an endless mortgage." [KREFETZ, p. 50] Levitt was instrumental in the invention of "suburbia": sprawls of mass-produced uniform tract houses. Between 1947 and 1951 his company constructed 17,447 homes for 75,000 people on Long Island, known today as Levittown. He also created another housing conglomeration -- also called Levittown -- in Pennsylvania. George Ritzer notes that:
 
"Levitt and Sons thought of their building sites as large factories. Insteadof having the product move, as one the automobile assembly line, the Levitt's product, the emerging house, was stationary, and it was the workers who moved around the building site ... Said Alfred Levitt, one of the sons: 'The same man does the same thing every day, despite the psychologists. It is boring; it is bad; but the reward of the green stuff seems to alleviate the boredom of the work." [RITZER, p. 28]
 
By 1973, Arthur Cohen was chairman of Arlen Realty and Development Corporation, "a corporation that controlled some $1.7 billion of U.S. real estate." [CARRUTH, E., 1973, p. 184] ... Shopping centers are the largest single element of Arlen's business, and the company is one of the nation's largest builders (as well as operators) of them." [CARRUTH, p. 187] Cohen and three associates held 49 percent of the voting shares in the company.
 
By 1982, another Jewish real estate mogul, Samuel J. Lefrak, alone owned 55,000 apartments in New York City and another 30,000 elsewhere, run by some 350 different companies, each owned by the Lefrak family. [KREFETZ, p. 81]  By 1982 too, "the great majority of the New York landlords [were] Jewish" including the prominent family names of Uris, Durst, Tishman, Rudin, Horowitz, Ravitch, Minskoff, Milstein, Sol Goldman, and Frederic Rose, a former President of the Jewish Philanthropies of New York. [BAER, p. 195]  Before financial problems in the late 1960s, William Zeckendorf was "master, at one time, of possibly the greatest of all real estate empires." [BLACKWELL, E., 1973, p. 534] In the early 1990s the Rudins owned buildings worth $1.5 billion. Other huge Jewish real estate empires include [d] those of Aaron Gural, Leo and Alexander Bing, the Resnicks, Fishers, Koeppels, Wiens, Cohens, and Silversteins. By 1929 A.E. Lefcourt's 24 buildings (many skyscrapers) placed him "among the largest landlords in the city and squarely in the ranks of its wealthiest men." [SCHACHTMAN, p. 117]
 
Most New York "real estate barons," confirmed Tom Schactman in 1991, are "white and Jewish." [SCHACTMAN, p. 21]  By the 1920s, "a survey found that 80 percent of the speculative builders in [New York] city were Jewish although Jews made up only 40 percent of the 10,000 builders in the metropolitan area. The [Jewish] immigrants' domination of the field worried some; the chairman of the board of the United States Realty and Home Improvement company called the 'foreign element ... a disturbing feature in real estate today.'" [SCHACHTMAN, p. 111] Architecturally, "even the shopping center was a [Jewish] émigré contribution, pioneered by Viennese-born Victor Gruen ... In Chicago, [Ludwig] Mies became the virtual inventor of industrial design." [HEILBUT, p. 143]

The premier real estate trader in the ritzy Hamptons area of Long Island was (until he choked on a piece of steak and died in 1991) Allan Schneider. Schneider was both Jewish and homosexual, although he hid both. He was, says, Steven Gaines, "the most powerful broker in all the Hamptons -- the 'Pasha,' as he was affectionately called by his staff, with offices in Southampton, Bridgehampton, Sag Harbor, and East Hampton and revenues approaching $100 million ... [He had] domination in the Hamptons real estate market ... He not only substantially changed the face of the landscape, but his own life was in some ways a metaphor for the new Hamptons: a stage upon which nouvelle society could invent itself." [GAINES, S., 1998, p. 4, 45, 48] How about "the largest private landowner in all of East Hampton?" That would be Evan Frankel, who "held the deed to more than 1,000 acres of developable land ... at one point he owned so much land that it was estimated he paid 50 percent of all the real estate taxes in East Hampton. Not coincidentally, at various times, he held seats on the town planning board, the board of directors of Southampton Hospital, and the advisory board of the East Hampton Free Library." [GAINES, S., 1998, p. 170]
 
Another Jewish real estate mogul, Ben Tobin, once a part owner of the Empire State Building, was, like most, "a major benefactor to Jewish charities." [NITKIN, p. 6B]  Down the street, Jack Weiler's nationwide holdings equaled 5 million square feet in New York alone; 1.5 million more were owned in California. "A new community of more than 2,000 homes and 5,000 residents on the southern ridge of Jerusalem was named Kiryat Jack Weiler because of his support for Israel and his ability to coax others to help as well." [VAN GELDEN, p. 26] Frederic and Earle Mack's Mack Company, based in New York and New Jersey commercial and industrial development, merged with another firm in 1997 to form the Mack-Cali Realty Corporation "which boasted a combined market capitalizaiton of $3.4 billion ... Like his brother Earle, Frederic Mack has long shown an abiding interest in U. S. relations with Israel ... Mack is currently on the national board of the American Israel Public Affairs Committee, the nation's largest and most infoluential pro-Israel lobby." [MOTHER JONES, 5-3-01]

In July 2001, a private company took over control of the ill-fated World Trade Center. Silverstein Properties (president: Larry Silverstein) signed a 99-year lease to run the landmark business complex for $3.2 billion from New York City's Port Authority (chairman: Lewis Eisenberg). [SCT NEWSWIRE, 7-25-01] The retail section was also controlled by a Jewish entrepreneur. As the Jerusalem Post noted after the 2001 terrorist attack:

"Australian businessman Frank Lowy, who emigrated to Australia from Israel in 1952, owns the 99-year lease for the 425,000 square foot retail portion of the destroyed World Trade Center. Lowy is the chairman and founder of Westfield Holdings, the manager of Westfield America Trust, which has a 57 percent stake in Westfield America Inc ... Westfield said today that it has insurance cover against terrorist attacks and its earnings will not be materially affected. In a statement to the Australian Stock Exchange the retail chain said that 'investment
in the retail component of the World Trade Center is fully insured for both capital and loss of income,' adding 'the insurance cover includes acts of terrorism' ... Today [Lowy] is the second wealthiest man in Australia and was recently ranked as the 209th wealthiest man in the world by Forbes magazine. Westfield is the fourth-largest shopping mall owner, with operations in Australia, the US, the United Kingdom and New Zealand. Lowy is philanthropically involved in the Jewish community in Sydney as well as Israel, including sponsoring the Overseas Students School of Tel Aviv University which is endowed in his name and being associate international chairman of the Israel Democracy Institute." [BERGER, S., 9-12-01]

In the New York city government sphere,

        "for more than four decades, without ever holding public office, Robert Moses
        ruled in New York like a potentate. He spent an estimated $27 billion on public
        works: highways, bridges, parks, tunnels, beaches, playgrounds, dams, public buildings,
        and public housing. He was in large part responsible for the construction of the Lincoln
        Center, the United Nations, Co-op City, and the Coliseum. His most impregnable power
        base was the Triborough Bridge and Tunnel Authority, where he reigned as chief executive
        from 1933 to 1968. He had helped draft the  legislation that created the authority and that
        at the same time ensured its existence  in perpetuity by empowering it to issue new bonds.
        The never-ending stream of bridge and tunnel tolls gave Moses control over a bond-issuing
        agency with exiguous accountability; during his tenure the authority, although a public agency,
        was as autonomous as the privately governed Metropolitan Museum."   
        [MEYER, K., 1979, p. 93]
 
Another Jewish mogul, Aaron Ziegelman, is in "the controversial business of buying low-rent buildings in New York City, renovating them and selling the apartments as condominiums. The New York Times called him 'one of New York's biggest co-op converters.'" [KLEIN, A., p. 10]  One of Ziegelman's pet projects is to reconstruct an Eastern European village in Israel; he has also donated a million dollars to the Reconstructionist Rabbinical College in Philadelphia and a million and a half to the National Jewish Center for Learning and Leadership.
 
Yet another Jewish real estate mogul is Jerry Speyer. He married into the Tishman family, also Jewish; the family's firm "Tishman Realty" became the largest "builder-owner" in the United States. [TRAUB, p. 68] Fellow Jewish real estate developer Bernard Mendik told the New York Times Magazine in 1998 that "right now, Jerry [Speyer] is the Number 1 real-estate developer in the world." [TRAUB, p. 62] Today Speyer's Tishman-Speyer Properties owns 36 million square feet of building space, valued at $10.5 billion. Among other sites Speyer's firm owns include Manhattan's Chrysler Building and the Messerturm in Frankfurt, Germany (Europe's second tallest building). He has served on the boards of both Columbia University and the Museum of Modern Art. Speyer, says journalist James Traub, "operates in that elite sphere in which wealth, public-spiritedness, and proper table manners converge to form a colossal nexus of power, but one almost invisible to the outside world." [TRAUB, p. 64]
 
In 1995, Business Week highlighted another Jewish real estate mogul, Steve Green:
 
        "Most people have never head of the 49 year-old real estate maven. But Steven J. Green's
        empire is growing fast. His personal holdings include 120 retail properties across the United
        States, which he estimated is worth $500 million. Through partnerships, he has a stake in a
        real estate company in Britain that owns 22 office properties in European business centers,
        an industrial project in Eastern Europe, and a retail development in Moscow's Red Square.
        And he's the chief executive of Astrum International Corporation, a $1 billion company
        that owns Samsonite, American Tourister, and Culligan brands." [WOOLLEY, p. 116]
 
By 1940, Albert M. Greenfield's real estate business in Philadelphia was the largest in the city. By age 35 he had "accumulated" 27 building and loan associations and was known as 'one of the most influential men in the city." [SKLARE, p. 284] In early Los Angeles, Kaspare Cohn "was one of Southern California's largest landowners." [GOLDEN, H., 1973, p. 233] By the 1970s, noted one Jewish observer, the (Jewish) Hellman family's Farmers and Merchant Bank, "excepting the state, is the largest property owner in California." [GOLDEN, H., 1973, p. 233]
 
In Chicago, Sam Zell is "one of the biggest property owners in the country." [ALLEN, J. p. C1]  Zell built his fortune on slum lording or, as the Chicago Tribune puts its, the "buying of distressed properties and resurrecting them ... Zell acquired troubled apartment buildings in Florida, Reno, and Las Vegas." [ELSNER, p. C1] "If you viewed us as a group," said partner Burton Kanter, "we were the biggest landlords in Reno." [ELSNER, p. C1]  In 1976 Zell and three associates were indicted in a tax shelter scheme over a Reno hotel transaction. Zell cut a deal with the government, but his brother-in-law went to prison. [ALLEN, J. p. C1]
 
Chicago-based Neil Bluhm, president of JMB Realty, and partner Judd Malkin, noted Forbes in 1990:
 
        "are among the few 1980s property owners to remain high on the Forbes  Hundred
        [richest Americans list]. Each is estimated at over $770 million, although they tell people
        they are each worth just under $1 billion." [BERSS, p. 352]
 
JMB's reach is far, owning even the prestigious Century City office complex -- home to many in the Hollywood entertainment world -- in West Los Angeles. Nearby, in Beverly Hills, Guilford Glazer oversees his own $474 million real estate empire, including the Del Amo Fashion Mall, "the largest shopping mall in the world." [BLUMAY, C., 1992, p. 415]  Glazer, notes Forbes magazine, is "active in Jewish American causes. [He] built [an] Israeli community center with buddy Armand Hammer." [FORBES, 10-12-98] A Beverly Hills neighbor is Eli Broad, co-founder of Kaufman & Broad, the Los Angeles area's "largest home builder." [GOLDBERG, JJ, 10-22-99] In 1977, Jewish mogul A. Albert Taubman "purchased 77,000 acres of some of the best land in southern California between Los Angeles and San Diego." Taubman, based in Detroit, "by the mid-1960s ... was building shopping centers in California, the nation's ongoing Mecca of real estate development ... It was Taubman who continualy upped the stakes in mall development, again raising eyebrows by building them bigger than anyone else, placing more stringent demands on tenants and charging higher rents for retailers who set up store under his roof." [HIGGINS/HOOVER, 5-3-01, p. 4a] A Holocaust survivor, Frank Lowy, owns Westfield America, the largest shopping mall company on the West Coast, including eight properties in Los Angeles, eight in San Diego, and four in Northern California. In St. Louis, Missouri, "Lowry has five malls and is the city's biggest landlord." In Australia, Lowy's home base, his "mall empire ... has blanketed the continent." The global asset value of his company's holdings is $13.2 billion. [COOLIDGE, 10-19-98]
 
Also in Chicago, "Philip Klutznik and his American Community Builders, and his later Urban Investment and Development Co. went on to build much of the face of Chicago over the last half century." [OLIVER, p. A16] He is largely responsible for the planned Chicago suburb of Park Forest and he owned the downtown landmark Water Tower Place.
 
In Washington DC, yet another Jewish real estate king, Charles Smith, controlled "Washington's greatest real estate fortune." [HAGGERTY, M. p. F10] His son Robert, and son-in-law Robert Kogod today run an empire of 2,000 employees, 14,000 apartment units (20,000 counting the ones they also manage), and interests in 54 office buildings. Their total worth was estimated by the late 1980s to be $3-5 billion.  Other area Washington area Jewish real estate moguls include the Hafts, Mort Zuckerman, Albert Abramson, Ted Lerner, Bernard and Carol Gewirz, Robert Rosenthal, Estelle Gelman, Hermen Greenberg, Abe Pollin, Myer and Adrienne Arsht Feldman, Joel Meisel and Barry Cohen, among others. [REGARDIE'S, p. 64-] As Barbara Matusow notes about an earlier Jewish generation in the nation's capitol:
 
     "Morris Pollin eventually became a leading builder and developer in
      the area -- the path to wealth for so many other Jews of humble
      origins ... Abraham Kay parlayed his earnings from a grocery store
      on Capitol Hill into vast landholdings in the suburbs. Morris
      Cafritz, the city's richest developer, used to hawk newspapers...
      Nearly all the other first generation success stories -- car dealer
      Joe Cherner, Giant Food's patriarch Nehemiah Cohen, Macke
      Vending's Hyman Goldberg, lumber merchant Isadore Turover --
      also had major holdings in real estate." [MATUSOW, B., MAY
       2000, p. 79]
 
In Houston, Jewish real estate mogul Jerry Moore is worth over $400 million, owning over 140 shopping centers. Forbes noted that he bought
 
     "shabby, low-profit but promising strip centers and turn[ed] them
     into born-again cash machines ... Moore lives with his wife in an
     authentic 18th-century, 40-room French chateau (transported from
     France and reassembled in Houston's ritzy Memorial section). He
     owns 22 Ferraris, 14 Rolls Royces, and over 200 well-restored antique
     Dusenbergs, Packards, and other vehicles." [FIELD, p. 32]
 
Elsewhere in Houston, David Mincberg owns "one of the largest apartment firms in the city." [HOUSTON CHRONICLE, 1998] He is also chairman of the Harris County Democratic Party and president of the Jewish Federation of Greater Houston.
 
Also in Texas, based in Dallas, the Centex real estate company "is one of the nation's largest home builders, with operations in 53 markets in 19 states." [NEW YORK TIMES, 9-3-98] Its CEO is also Jewish, Laurence Hirsch.
 
In Boston, "the young professionals who began favoring Boston as a place to live around the time of the Vietnam War are ensconced in their lairs, many of them either built or financed by [Mark] Goldweitz." [ROBINSON, p. 61] In 2000, Jerome Rappaport sold his massive Charles River Park development -- apartments and condos -- for $300 million. [Van Voorhis, S., 2-14-00] Other Jewish real estate moguls in Boston include "the Krupp brothers, Philip and William, who made a killing in real estate," as well as Stephen Karp, Julian Cohen, Bruce Beal, Steve Fishman, Ron Drucker, Dick Friedman, Alan Leventhal, and Edwin Sidman, among others. [BOSTON MAGAZINE]

Owner of properties throughout New England, Holocaust survivor Simon Konover -- owner of over 11 million square feet of real estate -- "is a staunch supporter of Jewish charities." [CHAINSTORE, p. 92] Richard Penzer has a "real estate empire" in Pittsburgh; in Chicago, by 1988 William Adler had developed over 100 suburban and industrial properties and thousands of homes.
 
In Los Angeles, by 1992 Jona Goldrich and Abraham Lurie alone controlled 25% (worth $250 million) of the luxurious Marina Del Rey beach area. "For years," notes the Los Angeles Times, "Goldrich has been active in Jewish affairs." [RABIN, J., p. B1] Goldrich has been "a major builder of residential and commercial projects throughout California" and a "major player" in the $400 million Channel Gateway project near Marina Del Rey. In 1991 he was awarded a controversial contract by the Los Angeles County to control over 18 acres of prime Marina Del Rey waterfront for the next 70 years. "Mark Nathanson [also Jewish], a Beverly Hills real estate broker and a member of the California Coastal Commission," noted the Los Angeles Times, "was a leading supporter of the lease extension [to Goldrich] when the five-member Small Craft Harbor Commission met last week." "Nathanson," observed the Times, "is the target of a federal political corruption investigation in Sacramento." [RABIN, J., 12-23-91, p. B1] For Abraham Lurie's part, he was once even a business partner with the brother-in-law of Saudi Arabia's King Fahd. In 1992, before economic problems, Lurie was described as Marina Del Rey's "biggest developer." [RABIN, J., 7-29-92, p. B1] 
 
In Miami, Jewish real estate moguls include Craig Robins. As one journalist notes:
 
      "[Robins] is Miami's most celebrated purchaser and rehabber of
      dilapidated buildings ... A few in Miami Beach gripe that Robins'
      rep and political clout have made him and [his company called]
      Dacra inordinately influential in the city, greasing the skids for any
      proposed project that has his name on it."
 
Robins' partners include his brother Scott and New York-based developer Tony Goldman. [KISSELL, T., 6-15-99]
 
Even in Mormon-dominated Utah, John Price is the (Jewish) chairman and CEO of JP Realty, "among the top commercial real estate developers in the Intermountain West, owning and managing properties in Utah and nine surrounding states." These holdings include 12 enclosed shopping malls, other shopping centers and various commercial and industry buildings. [KNUDSON, M., 3-23, 97] In Denver, Sally Barry made local news when she fought prominent real estate developer Jordan Perlmutter's plans that would obscure beautiful views of the Rocky Mountains from popular Robert Clement Park. [GREEN, C., 2-22-95, p., B7] Also in Denver, Israeli-raised Shaul Baruch, son of a rabbi, was noted in 1995 as a "wealthy land developer" who had recently purchased "443 acres of prime dirt near Denver International Airport." [REBCHOOK, J., 12-5-95, p. A47]
 
In Omaha, Nebraska, as an addenda to the real estate world, Phil and Harley Schrager own the Pacesetter Corporation, the "largest independent, direct-seller and manufacturer of residential building and improvement products in the United States." [JEWISH PRESS, 3-31-2000, p. 1]
 
In Canada, the Reichmann family has an international real estate empire and, by the 1980s, before financial troubles, were reputed to be "one of the wealthiest families in the world." [BUCHINSKY, p. 4]  The Reichmanns owned the largest real estate empire on earth, as well as the world's largest newsprint producer (Albitibi-Price), plus various other holdings. The former Deputy Minister of Finance for Canada, Marshall Cohen, directed the large Olympia and York division of the Reichmann sprawl. "The Reichmann's main business vehicle, Olympia and York Development," notes Anthony Bianco, "was the greatest property development company in Western history." [BIANCO, p. xv] "At the peak of their success ... the Reichmann's donated $60 million annually to [Jewish] Orthodox institutions worldwide." [ATLAS, p. 264]  The Jewish Reichmann and Bronfman families were instrumental in building New York's tallest landmark, the World Trade Center, and in the late 1970s the Reichmanns had major downtown development projects in ten American cities. [BIANCO, p. 368] "In Florida, Olympia and York generally invested along with the Shapiro family." [BIANCO, p. 399]
 
"Seagrams [owned by the Montreal-based Bronfman family] are not only the largest liquor empire in the world, but the largest private land-owners in Canada." [BERMANT, C., 1977, p. 68] Also from Montreal, Maxwell Cummings' real estate company has owned land and buildings across North America. In 1948 he built an apartment complex "which was the largest privately owned housing development in Canada ... Throughout his life, Cummings has played an important role in the Jewish community." [BEAUDIN, p. A4] Cummings, who died in 2001, was "a leading developer of low-cost housing in Canada." [EISENTHAL, B., 5-24-01] An Orthodox Jew from Toronto, real estate baron Stephen Mernick, even bought (for $139 million) the 500-acre PTL Christian theme park in North Carolina (after the sex scandal that swept Jim and Tammy Bakker into ruins). [DOLPHIN, p 38]
 
Also in Canada, Jewish mogul Peter Munk, while heading "one of the world's most valuable gold mining companies, Barrick Gold," also controls "Toronto's landmark CN Tower, lots of office space in New York, and what is described rather coyly as effective ownership of the Sears Tower in Chicago." [FINANCIAL TIMES, 6-30-98, p. 21] In 2000, Jacob Ghermezian died. A Jew from Iran, he "built a real estate empire in Canada." [KIRSCHNER, S., 9-14-2000, p. 11]
 
Even in a place like Sacramento, California, Mort Friedman "is prominent in two of the most public arenas in town, law and development." [DELSOHN, p. A1]  Both a lawyer and a real estate developer (including Sacramento's Market Square mall), his personal fortune is estimated to be about $100 million. Friedman has worked "for improved U.S.-Israeli relations," says the Sacramento Bee, "He lobbied Congress and met with Israeli leaders as an officer of the American Israel Public Affairs Committee." [DELSOHN, p. A1]
 
In 1989, a roomful of such Jewish real estate barons and assorted slum lords gathered to hear the Jewish New York State Attorney General, Robert Abrams, speak at the "Greater New York Real Estate and Construction Division of the State of Israel Bonds." Real estate mogul Sheldon Solow received the "Israel Peace Medal." Abrams, noted a news wire dispatch, "as a public official and even before that, ... has been a strong voice on behalf of Jewish causes ... [and an] ardent champion of the state of Israel ... While he was borough president, he successfully persuaded the New York City Board of Education to incorporate Jewish Heritage Week into the curriculum of public schools." [PR NEWSWIRE, 11-3-89] The chair of the Real Estate Board of New York at the time (1988) was also Jewish: Larry Silverstein. Such men no doubt included David Steiner, head of Steiner Equities Group, "a real estate concern which oversees millions of square feet of commercial and industrial property from its New Jersey headquarters." Steiner is a former president of AIPAC, the foremost lobbying agency for Israel in America. [MOTHER JONES, 3-5-01]
 
In Europe, in 1997, the Deutche Presse Agence wire service noted that "Berlin's Jewish community is currently in turmoil, its standing in the city tarnished by reports of dubious real estate dealing and political in-fighting among some of its members." [FREEMAN, C.] Jewish entrepreneurs were noted to have even swindled Holocaust survivors. "Our image is tarnished in the public eye by all the talk of corruption and scandal," the wire service was told at the Jewish Community Center of Berlin."  "Recently," noted the Agentur, "a [Jewish Community Center leader's] husband was investigated by the police, reputedly for forcing a woman from Riga into prostitution. There have also been media reports of a [Jewish] Community member ruthlessly driving up property rents in east Berlin." [FREEMAN, C.]
 
Of the 21 members of Berlin's Jewish Community organization, 17 were noted to be "involved in real estate or property management." [FREEMAN] The chairman of the Central Council of Jews in Berlin, Ignatz Bubis, also owned 40% of the Sheraton Hotel in Tel Aviv til his death in 1999. The London Guardian noted that "All his adult life Bubis insisted that he would live in Germany but did not want to be buried there ["he wanted to be buried in Israel"] and "although Bubis came to reflect the secularization and worldliness of modern German Jewry, he once said he would be 'very upset' if his daughter married a Gentile." [TRAYNOR, p. 10]
 
Another German Jewish mogul, Moritz Gertler, was recently described by one London newspaper as "one of Germany's wealthiest private property owners." [NISSE, p. 1, 2] In 1998, a French wire service noted the Jewish Fiszman family, rooted in German real estate, as "one of Germany's wealthiest families." [AGENCE FRANCE PRESSE, 10-1-98] (Other wealthy post-war Jews in Germany include Emil Januscek (in clothing), the "banker Feuchtwanger, in Munich, and Rosenthal, the manufacturer whose porcelain has a worldwide reputation.") [KATCHER, L., 1968, p. 176]

In Vienna, Austria, Ariel Muzicant heads the "largest association of Austrian Jews." (Today's Austrian Jewish population is about 15,000). He was also born in Israel. "I am the biggest broker in town," Muzicant told the New York Times in 2001, "So, yes, I know the mayor and deputy mayor. I am bigger than the second- and third-largest brokers combined. I build, broker, lease, and sell commercial real estate." A rival Jewish leader condemned Muzicant as a "man who advertises real estate on the Web page of the Jewish community he is supposed to represent."
[COHEN, R., 3-25-2001]
 
In England, the firm owned by Jewish moguls Michael and Peter Freeman was picked by Estates Times to be "one of the top 10, and possibly top five, quoted property companies in the UK" by the year 2000. [ESTATES TIMES]  Michael Price, also Jewish and active in British real estate (and who owns 6% of the powerful Chase Manhattan bank), was noted by the Times of London to have "recently emerged as one of America's most aggressive investors. It is the nightmare of every American executive to wake up in the morning and find that Mr. Price has just bought a stake in his company."  In 1993, Sighismund Berger (who father was a leading figure in Britain's Jewish Orthodox Satmar sect), facing economic woes, was still described by the London Observer as "arguably UK's largest private landlord." [PARKER-JERVIS, ONLINE]
 
"Mention any high-profile development," noted the London Guardian in 1991,
 
        "and Godfrey Bradman's been there too; in particular, he favours mega schemes:
        Finsbury Avenue (half a million square feet); Broadgate (3.5 million feet); Chafford
        Hundred in Essex, the biggest residential project in Britain. And of course the 125-acre
        King's Cross development, the largest single inner-city scheme in Europe."
        [COLES, GUARDIAN] 
 
Bradman is also, noted an observer in the Guardian, "part of that north London set of Jewish businessmen who go to each other's charity dos." [COLES, GUARDIAN]  Yet another Jewish British real estate force is Gerald Ronson, "one of the country's most celebrated property tycoons" who in 1990 "was fined pounds 5 million and did six months in jail for his part in the Guinness share-dealing scandal." [BARNETT, A., p. 3] Other British Jewish real estate tycoons include Mark Pears (whose family owns an estimated 20,000 flats and houses), and "London property brothers Eddie and Sol Zaky, whose Topland Group's portfolio is worth 1 billion pounds." The Zakys are from Israel. "I would forecast that unless peace comes soon," says Philip Beresford, compiler of a newspaper "rich list," it would be a logical step for Israelis to settle in Britain." [LEVITT/KOHEN, 4-27-01, p. 14]
 
Even in Hungary, in 1995, "Israeli-owned real estate development companies have started or prepared projects in Budapest worth $350 million that range from family apartments to renovations of abandoned hotels to massive shopping malls. The total development market size is estimated to be $1.6 billion." [O'LEARY, p. 28]  And, as the Jerusalem Post noted in 2000, "over the past few years, many Israeli companies have invested in real estate in Eastern Europe, and in Poland and Romania in particular." These Israeli companies include Olimpia Real Estate Holdings, Kardan Real Estate, and Elscint Limited. In 2000, Elscint also bought a 49% ownership of a Polish hotel chain. [SHAVIV, M., 10-6-2000] In the Czech Republic, about 1,600 Jews live in Prague, the beautiful capital of that country. "The new chairman [of the Prague Jewish Community]," noted the Jewish Telegraphic Agency in 2001, "intends to ensure that the community makes the most of its assets, which include prime real estate in Prague and elsewhere in the country." [BENNETT, M., 7-2-01]

In 2001, the Israeli newspaper, Haaretz, noted that "Israeli real estate companies are the largest and most active in some Eastern European countries ... Companies like Europe Israel have invested hundreds of millions of shekels in buying and developing East European commercial centers. Kardan Investments has been operating several years in Poland and has set up thousands of square meters of office space." The article, however, focused upon increased Israeli real estate movement in Great Britain. Israeli companies there include Giron Development and Building and Dorot. But the "most prominent Israeli company in the British real estate scene is Alony-Hertz." [LINDMAN, C., 6-27-2001]





Israeli Real Estate Flourishes in England. Haaretz [Israeli newspaper], June 27, 2001
"The entry of real estate into foreign fields was made possible by an easing of Israel's foreign exchange restrictions in 1993, allowing first companies, then individuals, to move money out of the country. This, coupled with accelerated globalization also easing the transfer of capital from one country to another, has led to a new situation in which Israeli real estate companies are the largest and most active in some Eastern European countries. But Israeli companies and individuals also had many incentives for investing in Britain."





Major international Israeli real estate acquisitions in the year 2002, as noted by the Jewish Agency's "Global Jewish Agenda" newsletter.


See also: Slum Lords


The above information is from:
When Victims Rule. A Critique of Jewish Pre-eminence in America.







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