LEVIEV, LEV (1956– ), Israeli entrepreneur. Leviev was born in Tashkent, Uzbekistan, to a religious family. In 1971 his family moved to Israel. Shortly afterwards, Leviev began to work as an apprentice in a diamond polishing plant, setting up his own plant following his army service. When the former Soviet Union began to open its doors to foreign investment during the 1990s, Leviev expanded his business activities to Eastern Europe. In 1996 he acquired control of Africa-Israel Investments, one of Israel's largest companies, with holdings and assets valued at over $1 billion. He controls global businesses in such fields as international trade, diamonds, real estate, infrastructure development, metals, chemicals, high-tech development, and hotels, with the Leviev Group's annual turnover reaching $1.8 billion. Leviev is the biggest private diamond manufacturer in the world, with diamond polishing plants in Russia, India, China, South Africa, Ukraine, and Armenia, as well as eight marketing agencies globally. He serves as chairman of the Israel-Russia and CIS Chamber of Commerce and Industry. He is also active in the Jewish communities of the former Soviet Union. In 1992 he established the Or Avner foundation in his father's memory. The foundation operates an Orthodox education network with branches in Israel and the former Soviet Union. Its goal is to bring new immigrants closer to Judaism and Torah. Leviev was president of the Federation of Jewish Communities of the CIS (FJC), the central organization that represents the 15 organized Jewish communities of the independent republics that were once part of the Soviet Union. He also served as honorary consul of the Republic of Kazakhstan in Israel and as president of the Bukharan Jewish Congress, which unites close to 250,000 members worldwide and helps address the religious and cultural needs of the Bukharan communities.
Sources: Encyclopaedia Judaica. © 2008 The Gale Group. All Rights Reserved.