Negev is ‘energy future’ of Israel, business magnate Elon Musk tells Netanyahu

Netanyahu agreed with “greatest technological visionary” that the Negev is the “energy future of the State of Israel” and vowed to develop it.

By: World Israel News Staff and TPS

Speaking at the 8th Negev Conference in Dimona Tuesday, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said he met earlier with Elon Musk, founder and CEO of electrical and autonomic car company Tesla Inc. and aerospace company SpaceX, who encouraged development of the Negev.

“This morning, before coming here, I met with Elon Musk, a man of vision, perhaps the greatest technological visionary of our time. He is a genius,” Netanyahu told the crowd.

Musk, 46,  praised Israel as a ‘technological power’ and said the Negev could provide the country with all its energy needs, Netanyahu said.

Musk “said that he appreciates what we are doing here. And then he said – and he did not know I was coming here – he told me, ‘The Negev could provide you with all your energy needs. The Negev is the energy future of the State of Israel. You could spread solar systems here that would give you more energy than you need or could need. Clean energy.’”

“I tell you what he told me,” the prime minister continued. “‘If you only want it,’ and I tell you that I want it. I want a vibrant, flourishing and developing Negev. And we will continue to do this, to develop it as has never been done in the history of Israel.”

Musk revealed his visit to Israel Monday night when, at the popular Gatsby’s cocktail bar in the Israeli capital, he posted on Instagram that he was “learning how to pour flaming absinthe over a tower of glasses in a Jerusalem speakeasy.”

Early Tuesday Musk posted a photo of himself at Masada, tweeting “Paid respects to Masada earlier today. Live free or die.”

A report in the Globes financial website suggested that Musk was in Israel to discuss cooperation between local computerized vision company Cortica and his Tesla electric car venture.

Cortica declined to comment on the report, Globes said.

Tesla also has a solar roof division launched last year, which produces solar tiles for residential buildings. Musk has claimed that the entire United States could be powered by solar energy. “If you wanted to power the entire US with solar panels,” he said, “it would take a fairly small corner of Nevada or Texas or Utah; you only need about 100 miles by 100 miles of solar panels to power the entire United States.”