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Wealth report predicts massive drop in millionaire arrivals to Israel

Saudi Arabia saw a net decrease in millionaire arrivals last year despite social reforms, but numbers are expected to improve
Tel Aviv skyline from the neighbourhood of Jaffa, on 30 April 2021 (AFP)

Israel is expected to see a 45 percent drop in the net influx of millionaires this year, according to a wealth report released on Tuesday.

The number of millionaire arrivals to Israel will plummet 45 percent from 1,100 in 2022 to just 600 in 2023, according to London-based investment migration consultancy, Henley & Partners. 

Israel has long been a major destination for Jewish emigrants. The move, called "making aliyah", is a component of Zionism, and Israel has welcomed Jews from the Middle East, former Soviet Republics, and the West for decades.

However, a far-right government alliance and a bitter domestic feud over Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s plan to overhaul the country’s judiciary appear to be impacting the calculations of wealthy individuals. In a speech last month, Israel’s Central Bank governor said the economy suffered “a significant domestic shock” from the judicial fight.

The new forecast follows Middle East Eye's previous report that a growing number of Israelis are looking to deploy their wealth to Greece, and even uproot to their Mediterranean neighbour, partially as a result of Israel’s judicial spat.

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Athens-based Israeli real-estate professional Dean Farache told MEE that he saw Israelis opting to invest in Greece over Israel as a direct result of the internal strife. “People with excess capital are more cautious about putting it into Israel today, so they are eying deals in Greece.”

The report also offered a rare peek at the wealth movement into Saudi Arabia. The kingdom was the fastest-growing G-20 economy last year amid economic reforms carried out by Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Salman and an oil price boom.

A mixed bag in Gulf

Despite relaxing conservative social codes and stripping away power from Saudi Arabia’s religious police in a bid to market itself as a luxury destination and business hub, the kingdom appeared to struggle to attract the wealthy. 

Saudi Arabia saw a net outflow of 600 millionaires in 2022, but that number is expected to decrease substantially to 100 this year.

The UAE saw the highest net influx of millionaires in the world in 2022.

In Greece, Israelis find cheap property, nightlife and political refuge
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The UAE registered 5,200 millionaire arrivals last year, according to Henley & Partners, with high net-worth individuals attracted to the Emirates' low tax regulations and luxury lifestyle.

Dubai saw a surge in interest among digital nomads and wealthy entrepreneurs during the pandemic. In a bid to attract western expats, Dubai has eased social laws governing the purchase of alcohol and cohabitation.

More recently, the city has benefited from an influx of wealthy Russians looking to blunt the bite of sanctions and the wider fallout of the Ukraine war. The new arrivals helped make Dubai the world’s fourth most active luxury property market behind New York, Los Angeles and London.

Millionaires from India are also helping to boost the UAE’s place in the rankings as they take advantage of its "golden visa" programme.

Like its Gulf neighbour Saudi Arabia, the UAE’s economy boomed as a result of a rally in energy prices last year. Despite their recent fall, it continues to attract international investors and western businesspeople amid a slowdown in other parts of the global economy.

The report predicts the UAE will see a slowdown in net millionaire arrivals in 2023 to 4,500.

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