Israeli-American philanthropist Miriam Adelson is the richest Israeli of 2018 with an estimated value of $22 billion, according to a report in the Hebrew business daily The Marker on Thursday.
Adelson is not only the richest Israeli citizen but far outranks the others below her, with the next on the list, Roman Abramovich, worth "only" $13 billion. Most of her wealth was transferred to her this year as a gift from her husband, philanthropist and businessman Sheldon Adelson, in the form of stock shares of his Las Vegas Sands Corporation. (Sheldon Adelson is not an Israeli citizen and was not included in the rating. In 2018, his fortune was listed in Forbes as being worth $33.3 billion, making him the 15th richest person in the world.)
The Adelson couple lives in Las Vegas, where recently, Sidney is receiving treatment for non-Hodgkin's lymphoma.
In addition to Miriam's newfound wealth over the past year, Miriam also became the CEO of Israel Hayom, a popular pro- Netanyahu Hebrew newspaper founded by the Adelsons in 2007. According to The Marker, Miriam pushed her husband to found the newspaper as a means to restore a right-wing government to Israel. "Israel Hayom is completely her project," a close associate of the family said.
The Marker also reported that it was due to Miriam's influence that her husband has made huge donations to Israel-related projects over the years, such as Birthright Israel, a not-for-profit educational organization that sponsors free ten-day heritage trips to Israel for young Jewish adults.
Miriam, 73, born and raised in Tel Aviv, went to medical school and practiced internal medicine in a Tel Aviv hospital. Later, following a divorce, she moved to the United States, where she began specializing in drug rehabilitation. She met Sheldon in 1990 and they married in 1991. Later, Miriam founded substance abuse centers and research clinics in Israel and Las Vegas.
In 2018, Miriam received the Presidential Medal of Freedom from US President Donald Trump, which sparked much criticism from liberal opponents of Trump, who claimed that the medal was earned through the $30 million donor donation the Adelsons gave Trump at the end of his presidential campaign. The Adelsons also donated $100 million to Republicans during the mid-term elections.
The Marker emphasized that Miriam still defines herself as an Israeli citizen, maintaining close friendships in Israel and visiting frequently. Many believe she holds a great deal of influence on Israeli life and politics.