The Miami Heat is largely an Israeli-owned organization. The Arison family, one of the wealthiest families in the world, has owned the team from its early years in the 1980s. Its patriarch, Ted Arison, was the son of Romanian settlers who, in 1882, helped (along with Baron Edmond James de Rothschild) to establish of Zikhron Ya’akov, one of the first Jewish agricultural colonies in Palestine in the late nineteenth century. His father, Meir, was a multi-millionaire in his own right, owning the largest shipping company in Palestine under British Mandate. Ted served in the nascent Israeli army after the unilateral Israeli declaration of independence in 1948 that literally wiped Palestine off the map.

In 1990, Ted Arison renounced his U.S. citizenship, in an effort to avoid estate tax in the United States and returned to Israel to found Arison Investments. In 1997, he led a business consortium that purchased a controlling share in Israel’s Bank Hapoalim for more than $1 billion, a deal that marked the largest privatization in Israel’s history. Sadly, his died just nine months shy of being able to reap the benefits of his tax avoidance scheme.

The Arison Group, in addition to its Carnival and Miami Heat holdings, also owns the Israeli Shikun & Binui construction and real estate development behemoth which operates not only in Israel, Asia and Africa, but also in the occupied and colonized Palestinian territories.

“God can always help; we need him on our side against Dallas,” joked Katz, back in 2006 when the Heat were poised to play the Mavericks. “Every Israeli must support us; they must go the Western Wall and pray for us. Miami Heat is no less Israeli than Maccabi. This is also a group with Israeli ownership in which many Americans play.”

Read more here.