King of Diamonds
Lev Avnerovich Leviev (b. 1956) was born in Tashkent, Uzbekistan (then part of the USSR) to an observant Bukharian-Jewish family, the son of a mohel. In 1971, the family moved to Israel, where Leviev dropped out of school and apprenticed at a diamond-polishing factory instead. After serving in the IDF, he started his own successful diamond business. When the USSR collapsed, Leviev took advantage of the opportunity to expand his enterprise into the former Soviet Union. With the blessing of the Lubavitcher Rebbe, his business flourished tremendously, and Leviev soon expanded his reach into other ventures, including real estate, construction, and the chemical industry. Today, his net worth is estimated at $1.2 billion, with diamond mines in Angola, Namibia, Alaska, and Russia. Now the world’s largest diamond cutter and diamond polisher, he has been nicknamed the “King of Diamonds”. Meanwhile, Leviev has joined the ranks of the top Jewish philanthropists in the world, with estimates of donating over $50 million every year. As one of the main financial supporters of Chabad, he has sponsored over 300 rabbis and 10,000 other Chabad staff around the world. A staunch supporter of Israel, Leviev’s philanthropic (and business) activities also include funding Israeli settlements, along with other Israeli institutions. He is also the president of the Federation of Jewish Communities of the CIS (former Soviet Union), and the president of the World Congress of Bukharian Jews. Leviev’s main charitable organization, the Ohr Avner Foundation (named after his father), funds countless Jewish schools, synagogues, educational institutions, kindergartens, and youth programs in over 500 communities around the world. Incredibly, Leviev also carried on the old family tradition of being mohels, and has performed over one thousand circumcisions himself! He remains fully observant; his businesses closed on Shabbat. Leviev has nine children, and currently resides in London, England.
Words of the Week
For me, Israel, Jerusalem, and Haifa are all the same. So are the Golan Heights. As far as I’m concerned, all of Eretz Israel is holy. To decide the future of Jerusalem? It belongs to the Jewish people. What is there to decide? Jerusalem is not a topic for discussion.
– Lev Leviev