Israel is a little country of seven million inhabitants, and with a land area the size of the American state of New Jersey. Yet, despite its diminutive size, it has some of the richest people in the world as its citizens. And now, these super rich billionaires are trying to purchase many of the most well known landmarks in New York City.

Formerly the private turf of such well-known people as the Rockefeller family, banker J.P. Morgan, and Real Estate mogul Donald Trump, the 22.7 sq. mile Manhattan Island, on which all of New York City’s well known skyscrapers stand, is now being sought after by such Israeli families as the Ofers, the Levievs, and the Tshuvas. Yitzhak Tshuva, an Israeli businessman who came from very humble origins to now being the head of a billion dollar energy and importing concern that not only controls much of the new car and gasoline sales in Israel, but in America as well (his company owns literally hundreds of gas stations and convenience stores scattered all over the continental U.S.A.). Tshuva, recently purchased the historic and well known Plaza Hotel, once the most luxurious hotel in The City. The price of this purchase of in excess of $ 600 million, and Mr. Tshuva must have admired the building and what it represents long ago when he walked the streets of Manhattan as a young man following his army service. Now, he not only owns the building of his dreams but plans to purchase others on the island as well.

Another Israeli tycoon, Eyal Ofer, of the Zim Shipping Company empire, took possession of the Philip Morris Building for a price of $525 million. The Ofer family controls one of the largest merchant marine fleets in the world, and has also amassed a respectable real estate portfolio of which the building which housed one of the largest tobacco companies in the world is only a part of. Ofer’s possessions. It occupies one of the most coveted property locations, i.e. right across from Central Park. Eyal also purchased the prestigious Mayflower Plaza Hotel for $400 million, and has turned this former luxury hotel into super luxury apartments. Ofer, together with a group of investors also purchased the Central Tower building for a ‘paltry’ $300 million.

Not to be outdone, another super wealthy Israeli, Lev Leviev, purchased two well known New York City landmarks: the New York Times Building, for $ 525 million, and the Clock Building, for $211 million. Leviev, who is Chairman of the African Israel Real Estate Company, is also head of LLD Diamonds Ltd, now considered as the largest private company in the world dealing in rough and polished diamonds. Leviev is said to have spent another $100 million to purchase the Wall Street building once belonging to J.P. Morgan, and is turning it into luxury apartments as Ofer has done with the Mayflower Plaza.

What prestigious landmark is next in line for these guys and other Israeli billionaires is anybody’s guess; but one thing is for certain, and that is the sky’s the limit for their desire to control what is going on in America’s largest city. Who knows, maybe the Chrysler Building, Radio City Music Hall, or even the Empire State Building itself may fall under their ownership. The moral of all of this: you don’t have to come from a big country to be big.