The billionaire couple buy a 5% stake in Israel’s largest bourse, signaling their confidence and support for the country’s economy and security
Billionaire hedge fund manager Bill Ackman and his Israeli wife Neri Oxman have purchased a five percent stake in the Tel Aviv Stock Exchange, in a high-profile show of support for Israel’s economy amid the ongoing war in Gaza.
The couple bought the stake for $17.3 million as part of a secondary offering of 18.5% of the market value of the exchange, which was announced on Wednesday.
The purchase is one of the biggest investments in Israel since the war in Gaza erupted on Oct. 7, when Hamas, the Palestinian group that controls the enclave, launched an attack on Israel, killing more than 1,200 people, the worst massacre of Jews since the Holocaust.
The investment also marks the first public financial commitment to Israel’s economy by Ackman, who is the founder and CEO of Pershing Square Capital Management, since he led a campaign against US universities over what he claims is their antisemitism and bias against pro-Israel students.
Ackman, who is Jewish, became embroiled in a controversy with Harvard University, his alma mater, after he demanded that the university make public the names of the students who signed a statement that blamed Israel for the Hamas attack.
He also wrote a letter to the then-president of Harvard, Claudine Gay, accusing her of plagiarism and failing to counter antisemitism on campus. Gay resigned earlier this month after the allegations were confirmed.
Ackman’s wife, Oxman, is an American-Israeli architectural designer and professor, who has been the target of an investigation by Business Insider that alleged she plagiarized parts of her doctoral dissertation.
Vocal Supporters of Israel
The couple, who married in 2019, have been vocal supporters of Israel, especially since the war in Gaza began. They have also donated to various Israeli causes and organizations, such as the Israel Defense Forces and the Weizmann Institute of Science.
The Tel Aviv Stock Exchange, which is Israel’s largest and oldest bourse, said in a press release that the transaction drew strong interest from investors across Israel, the US, Europe, and Australia, and that it reflected a “strong vote of confidence” in both the exchange and the Israeli economy.
The exchange said that it intends to use the net proceeds from the offering for investment in its technology infrastructure, and that it hopes to attract more foreign and local investors and companies to its platform.
The exchange also said that it was proud and honored to have Ackman and Oxman as its shareholders, and that it appreciated their “confidence and support” for the exchange and for Israel.
The exchange’s shares jumped as much as 9.4% following the announcement, recovering from the losses it suffered since the outbreak of the war.
The Israeli economy has been hit hard by the war, which has caused widespread damage and disruption to the country’s infrastructure, industry, and tourism. The war has also increased the security and diplomatic challenges and costs for Israel, which has faced international criticism and condemnation for its actions and policies in Gaza.
The war has also exacerbated the humanitarian and political crisis in Gaza, where more than 25,000 Palestinians, mostly civilians, have been killed, and where nearly 90% of the population has been displaced by the Israeli bombardment. The war has also triggered a wave of solidarity and support for the Palestinian cause across the Arab and Muslim world, as well as among many countries and people around the world.
The war has also raised questions and concerns about the prospects and the chances of a peaceful and lasting solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, which has been stalled and deadlocked for years, and which has been overshadowed by the regional and global developments and dynamics.
The US and Britain have been leading the diplomatic efforts to broker a ceasefire and a political settlement between Israel and Hamas, as well as between Israel and the Palestinian Authority, which is the internationally recognized representative of the Palestinian people, and which has been sidelined and weakened by the war.
The US and Britain have also been providing military and economic assistance and support to Israel, as well as humanitarian and development aid to the Palestinians, and have been coordinating and cooperating with the UN and other agencies and actors to deliver relief and assistance to the victims and the survivors of the war.
The US and Britain have also been urging Israel and the Palestinians to resume the peace talks and to work towards a two-state solution, based on the mutual recognition and the respect of the rights and the aspirations of both peoples.
Ackman and Oxman’s investment in the Tel Aviv Stock Exchange is seen by some analysts and observers as a sign and a symbol of the resilience and the potential of the Israeli economy, and of the confidence and the support of the international community and the public opinion for Israel’s security and stability.
The investment is also seen by some analysts and observers as a challenge and a message to the extremists and the terrorists, who seek to destroy and to destabilize Israel and the region, and who oppose and reject any peace and coexistence between Israelis and Palestinians, and between Jews and Arabs.