When Warren Buffett plunked down $4 billion for an 80 percent stake in Israeli-based Iscar Metalworking in 2006, his first-ever foreign acquisition sent an unmistakable message that Israel’s industry is a good bet for foreign investors. Today, though Israel’s economy suffers from a growing income gap between rich and poor, foreign investment is up and Israeli high-tech start-ups are on the rise.
The story of the Jewish student at Columbia University who wrote a letter a few years ago to Warren Buffett, asking for an internship at Berkshire Hathaway, the Omaha insurance and investment firm where Buffett is CEO, is already lore in parts of Omaha's small-but-close-knit Jewish community.
Multi-billionaire Buffett receives many such missives, but he liked something about that letter. He offered the student an internship. And when Ian Jacobs, an Orthodox Jew from Toronto, finished his MBA at Columbia two years ago, Buffett hired him as a personal assistant.
Arecord pledge by a Jewish multi-billionaire has raised the ante for other Jewish philanthropists in the United States, but the exact affect on Jewish communal life of Sheldon Adelson’s gift won’t be determined for several years, according to experts.