OMAHA, NE — Berkshire Hathaway Chairman and CEO Warren Buffett welcomed 43 U.S. Israel bond investors to Omaha on recently, each of whom made a minimum $1 million new investment to participate in an exclusive evening with the famed “oracle of Omaha.”
The evening opened with a tribute video from Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who said, “Warren is one of the most brilliant and successful investors of our time. He knows a good investment when he sees it. That’s why he invests in Israel.”
Buffett, who made Israeli company Iscar his first overseas acquisition, spoke warmly of the Jewish state, calling it “a remarkable country.” He stressed that “The United States and Israel have a common destiny,” saying, “If you are looking for brains, energy and dynamism in the Middle East, Israel is the only place you need to go.”
Buffett also spoke positively of investing in Israel bonds, calling the investments “a terrific tribute to the country.” He said he would invest $5 million in Israel bonds in his personal portfolio if participants at the event matched his investment. In doing so, Buffett stated, “I wanted – through the last-minute challenge – to set the bar even higher for future events.”
He added, “You can tell prospective investors that I would have taken a perpetual bond if you had offered one. I believe Israel is going to be around forever.”
As a result, Israel bond sales directly attributable to the event totaled $60 million. In addition to Buffett’s $5 million investment, Berkshire Hathaway’s portfolio has included Israel bonds since its acquisition of GUARD Insurance in 2012, now known as Berkshire Hathaway GUARD Insurance Companies.
The evening was the result of an April meeting held in Omaha between Buffett and then-Bonds President & CEO Izzy Tapoohi, Vice President for Sales Stuart Garawitz and Pennsylvania Region Executive Director Harold Marcus.
In commenting on the meeting, Buffett said, “I learned quite a bit more about the Bonds program and said I’d love to do (the event).”
In expressing appreciation to Buffett, new Israel Bonds President & CEO Israel Maimon said, “This event tells me that Warren Buffett, famed for his investment expertise, continues to view Israel as a sure bet.”
The evening was hosted by Henry Davis, president & CEO of Greater Omaha Packing.
Thomas A. Lockshin is executive director of the regional office located in Cleveland.
Israel bonds are debt securities issued by the government of Israel. Israel Bonds is also the commonly known name of Development Corporation for Israel (DCI), which underwrites the bonds in the United States. Capital provided through the sale of Israel bonds has helped strengthen every aspect of Israel’s economy, enabling the development of key national infrastructure. Today, expanded ports and transportation networks help facilitate the shipment of “Made in Israel” technology around the world, enhancing national export growth. Capital accrued through the sale of Israel bonds has enabled cutting-edge innovation that saves lives and changes the world on a daily basis.