Study: Jewish Males Run Most of Israel’s Businesses

View of the Malcha Mall. Photo by Yossi Zamir/Flash90
View of the Malcha Mall in Jerusalem. (Yossi Zamir/Flash90)

For the first time, the Central Bureau of Statistics has compiled and released figures providing a specific breakdown of the Israeli workforce and business owners by gender, ethnic group, family status, age and education. The typical business owner in Israeli is a male Jew, with women and Arabs far behind in entrepreneurship – although there were specific areas where those groups were more prominent than in others.

The statistics mostly relate to 2012, the last year the full set of statistics relate to, although some of the data about 2015 was collated as well, in order to provide a timeline of progress. In 2012, there were a total of 443,000 businesses in Israel, 344,000 (78 percent) of them owned by men, and the rest by women. With that, the percentage of businesses opened that year by women – 25 percent – was slightly higher. In addition, 27 percent of businesses that had one employee – for example people who worked as contractors or managed their own businesses – were owned by women.

Men dominated throughout the business spectrum, but in the areas of health and personal care, 48 percent of businesses were owned by women. Similarly, 45 percent of education-related enterprises, such as private nursery schools, were owned by women. Men ran 97 percent of building-related businesses, as well as 95 percent of companies dealing in storage, deliveries and transportation.

In 2012, 84 percent of Israeli businesses were Jewish-owned, with 14 percent owned by Arabs and 2 percent by “others” (foreign immigrants, illegal African migrants and others). The highest percentage of Jewish-owned businesses was in the areas of information technology, leisure and entertainment. The largest number of Arab-owned businesses was in building-related businesses (29 percent) and in storage, deliveries, and transportation (24 percent).

Among single-employee independent businesspeople, 82 percent were Jewish and 16 percent Arab; 90 percent of female-owned businesses were owned by Jews, while 7 percent were owned by Arabs.

In 2012, 77 percent of business owners were married, 10 percent single, 5.9 percent divorced and 3 percent were owned by widows or widowers. According to the CBS 38 percent of business owners had a college degree, while 40 percent had a graduate degree or greater .