South African-born Canadian American billionaire entrepreneur Elon Musk, the CEO of electric-car maker Tesla, has posted pictures of himself in Israel on Instagram.
“Paid respects to Masada earlier today. Live free or die,” Musk, 46, posted eight hours ago, accompanied by a picture of himself standing in front of a hilly and sunny desert background. The post got more than 499,000 likes and a flurry of 5,800 comments.
Musk also posted a video of the Jerusalem Machane Yehuda market, also eight hours ago, saying: “Last night in Jerusalem and the best menu ever.” The post got 184,000 likes and more than 2,000 comments.
On Monday night, Musk posted a picture of himself pouring flaming absinthe in a Jerusalem bar. “Learning how to pour flaming absinthe over a tower of glasses in a Jerusalem speakeasy. Everything’s better with fire…..” he said.
A person familiar with the matter told The Times of Israel that Musk was in Israel to meet with Cortica, a maker of artificial intelligence technology for use in autonomous cars. Musk on Tuesday denied meeting with the firm.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said Tuesday that he met with Musk in the morning, calling him “perhaps the greatest technological visionary of our time. He is a genius.”
Addressing a conference in the Negev, Netanyahu said Musk referred to Israel as a “technological power” and that he appreciates “what we are doing here.”
Netanyahu added that Musk referred to the Negev desert as “the energy future of the State of Israel”, with the region capable of meeting all of the nation’s energy needs. “You could spread solar systems here that would give you more energy than you need or could need. Clean energy,” Netanyahu said, citing Musk. “If you only want it.”
Globes reported that Musk visited Israel two years ago, to meet with Mobileye officials at the car sensor plant in Jerusalem. That visit was kept under wraps, with Musk arriving and departing in his private jet. Following the visit, Musk integrated Mobileye’s sensors into his Tesla cars, but the working ties between the two companies was halted after a Tesla car was involved in an accident. In March last year, Mobileye was acquired by Intel for $15.3 billion.
The Haaretz website said on Tuesday that officials in Israel’s Transportation Ministry recently held talks with Musk on the possibility of importing the Tesla autonomous cars to Israel.
In February, Musk who is also founder and CEO of SpaceX, launched the world’s first sports car into space.
Raphael Ahren and Luke Tress contributed to this report.