Warren E. Buffett (AP/Mary Altaffer) (AP/Mary Altaffer)
Warren E. Buffett

“Israel reminds me of the United States after its birth,” said Buffett. “The determination, motivation, intelligence and initiative of its people are remarkable and extraordinary.”

By: United with Israel Staff

Billionaire Warren Buffett, one of the world’s most successful and high-profile investors, has recently increased his investments in the Jewish state, saying he is doing do because he is “a big believer in Israel’s economy.”

His company, Berkshire Hathaway, bought 18.9 million shares in Teva Pharmaceutical, an Israeli biotech company, last quarter, amounting to a 1.9 percent stake in the company, worth $358 million at the time.

The stake has now risen to $400 million as Teva’s share price has appreciated since news of Berkshire’s investment broke.

This is not Buffett’s first investment in Israel. His ties to the Jewish state’s economy began in 2006, when Berkshire purchased an 80 percent stake in Iscar, an industrial manufacturing company.

Forbes magazine wrote Monday that Buffett has been a proponent of Israeli bonds and has twice made pitches to convince buyers to purchase bonds.

What is it about Israel that Buffett finds attractive, Forbes asked him?

“I’m not Jewish, but Israel reminds me of the United States after its birth,” said Buffett in an interview. “The determination, motivation, intelligence and initiative of its people are remarkable and extraordinary. I’m a big believer in Israel’s economy.”

Other Israeli companies purchased by Berkshire include eVolution Networks, creators of wireless network energy savings software, Ray-Q Interconnect, a distributor of electronic components and AgroLogic, a designer of electronic control units for agriculture.

Israel has become a hotbed for the start-up industry, with Google acquiring navigation app Waze in 2013 and Intel spending $15 billion to buy self-driving car system manufacturer Mobileye.

Buffett is not the only billionaire investing in Israel, Forbes noted. Carlos Slim, one of the world’s richest people, invested $60 million in Mobli, an Instagram rival.

Mark Cuban is part of a group that has invested in Percepto, an Israeli drone company.

In meantime, Israel’s economy will continue to grow substantially, the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) showed in a recent report.

Israel’s economic growth is projected to strengthen to above 3.25 percent in 2018 and 2019, the report said.

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