An Israeli businesswoman has clinched the 64th spot on the Forbes magazine list of the 100 most powerful women in the world.
Shari Arison is Israel's wealthiest woman and the owner of several businesses, the largest among them Bank Hapoalim.
Forbes has named her the richest woman in the Middle East and the only woman to be ranked in the region's top-20 richest people in 2007.
As of 2011, Forbes estimated her fortune at US$5.1 billion, making her the 200th-wealthiest person in the world, and the third-wealthiest in Israel.
Arison, who was born in New York, moved to Israel with her mother after her parents’ divorce in 1966. At the age of 12 she returned to the U.S. to live with her father, and five years later she returned to Israel in order to enlist in the IDF.
In addition Bank Hapoalim, Arison inherited stakes in Carnival Cruises and infrastructure and real estate giant Skikun & Binui from her late father Ted Arison. She also owns Israel's largest salt manufacturer and in 2006 founded global water efficiency company Miya, which is currently modernizing out-of-date water systems in the Philippines and the Bahamas.
In March of 2009, Arison sponsored Israel’s third annual “Good Deeds Day” in which her non-profit organization, Ruach Tova, inspired thousands of Israelis to get involved in volunteering across the country.
“With a mission to be a force for good business, last year she launched online social platform Goodnet.org to support volunteer work and community service, and partnered with MTV to expand her annual initiative Good Deeds Day, meant to inspire people around the world to do a good deed for the benefit of others,” Forbes wrote about Arison.
German Chancellor Angela Merkel topped Forbes’ list, for the second year in a row. U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton came in second and Brazil’s President, Dilma Rousseff, was third.