Berkshire Hathaway Chairman & CEO Warren Buffett welcomed 43 U.S. Israel bond investors to Omaha on November 6, 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 video
tribute from 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.”
An ebullient Warren Buffett welcomes Israel bond investors to Omaha
Buffett, who made Israeli company Iscar his first overseas acquisition, spoke warmly of the Jewish state, praising it as “a remarkable country.” He stressed that “the United States and Israel have a common destiny,” adding, “if you are looking for brains, energy and dynamism in the Middle East, Israel is the only place you need to go.”
Buffett 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 event participants matched his investment.
Buffett explained, “I wanted – through the last-minute challenge – to set the bar even higher for future events.” In response to the challenge, participants made additional Israel bond investments totaling $5 million, matching Buffett's investment. Israel bond sales directly attributable to the event totaled $60 million.
From left: Israel Bonds Pennsylvania Region Executive Director Harold
Marcus; Bonds President & CEO Israel Maimon; Warren Buffett; Bonds
Vice President for Sales Stuart Garawitz; Greater Omaha Packing Company, Inc.
President & CEO Henry Davis; and former Bonds President & CEO Izzy Tapoohi
Buffett said,“You can tell prospective investors I would have taken a perpetual bond if you had offered one. I believe Israel is going to be around forever.”
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)."
Warren Buffett takes questions from the audience. The famed 'Oracle
of Omaha,' who made a $5 million Israel bond investment, said, “You
can tell prospective investors I would have taken a perpetual bond if you
had offered one. I believe Israel is going to be around forever.”
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 Company, Inc.
(Photos: Stacie Kinney)