VIDEO - American billionaire Warren Buffett told Ynet Monday morning after his meeting with the prime minister that he didn't give any economic advice to Prime Minister Ehud Olmert during their meeting, saying that he doesn't pretend to tell Olmert how to run Israel's economy.
He added that he is in Israel only one day, and so doesn't see it fit to give such advice. In response to the question how, from his perspective, Israel can temporarily deal with its security missions while ensuring economic growth, he responded that he wishes Israel to continue on the same path that allowed it to transform from a desert country with half a million residents and refugees into a flourishing state.
Buffett said Monday during a visit to the Iscar plant that one won’t find any other business in Israel as good as Iscar, and that one will have a difficult time finding one such business in the rest of the world.
At a press conference held after his visit to the plant, Buffett commented on the decision to invest USD 4 billion in the Israeli company: "We made a very strong, affirmative decision, we were happy about it when we made it... and now that we've seen it (the plant), we're deliriously happy."
The billionaire was full of praise for the local industry in general, and specifically for his relatively new purchase, Iscar. He stated that Iscar was a remarkable business that developed in a small and relatively new country. "It happened against the odds," he declared.
Buffett also said that he hoped journalists in the United States "pick up" on Iscar's story, which could serve, according to him, as a remarkable model for the Americans.
Earlier, during his visit to Iscar, Buffett told Ynet that the information he received about the factory wasn’t news to him, and yet he still found himself surprised and impressed.
If we can find a business 80 percent as good as Iscar, we will be very pleased, he said. It’s one of the most impressive businesses I’ve ever seen in my life and it’s a pleasure for me to be here, said Buffett.
He added that most of the time, Israel is no more dangerous than the United States. There was a short time during the war when it really was dangerous here, but we live in a dangerous world, he said.
Buffett visits east Jerusalem (Photo: Reuters)
Buffett arrived in Israel Sunday for a one-and-a-half day visit, following his USD 4 billion purchase of 80 percent of Iscar Industries from the Wertheimer family in May 2006.
Iscar founder Stef Wertheimer and Buffett met for the first time Monday morning. Buffett later toured the industrial area established by Wertheimer. He also met with Noam Shalit, father of kidnapped IDF soldier Cpl. Gilad Shalit.
During Buffett’s visit, Wertheimer said to him: “Industrial areas are the future of the Middle East. As soon as everyone here has a job, Nasrallah will have no role.”
This was Buffett’s first visit to Israel, and he seemed very excited about it. He will meet with Prime Minister Ehud Olmert on Monday afternoon, and will attend an industry cocktail party in his honor at the King David Hotel in Jerusalem on Monday night.