Tesla CEO Elon Musk gave Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu a tour of the company’s Fremont Factory on September 18 during his visit to the US.
Netanyahu and his wife Sarah were given an overview of Tesla’s developments and several electric car models by Musk, who also accompanied them on a tour of the EV production and assembly process at the California-based plant.
After that, Musk gave the couple a ride in the Tesla Cybertruck electric pickup on the test track located outside the factory. Netanyahu seemed to enjoy the experience as he spent several minutes speaking with Musk next to the Cybertruck after the ride ended.
The Israeli PM and Elon Musk then attended a live open conversation on Artificial Intelligence (AI) at the Fremont Factory together with OpenAI President Greg Bruckman, and MIT Professor Max Tagmark.
In the conversation that was broadcast live on Netanyahu’s official X (formerly Twitter) account, the Prime Minister and his guests discussed how to harness the benefits of the rapid advancement of AI, while limiting the risks to society.
“We stand today at a juncture for all humanity, where we have to choose between a blessing and a curse,” Netanyahu said, noting that AI could advance medicine but also lead to risks like disrupting democracy. Israel is considered a world-leader in AI, thanks to its flourishing computing and robotics industries.
Netanyahu also noted that he appreciated Musk’s commitment to freedom of expression and his opposition to antisemitism.
“I hope you find within the confines of the First Amendment, the ability to not only stop antisemitism … but any collective hatred of a people,” Netanyahu said during the meeting. “I know you’re committed to that … but I encourage and urge you to find a balance.”
Musk said he was against antisemitism and against anything that “promotes hate and conflict,” reiterating his stance that X would not promote hate speech. He noted that he received more pushback from Tesla employees about the meeting with Netanyahu than “anything else I’ve ever done.”
The PM and his nationalist-religious coalition are trying to limit some of the powers of the Israeli Supreme Court to prevent political overreach by unelected judges.
According to Reuters, the issue has split Israeli society and raised concerns over the country’s democratic health, with opponents saying the changes could encourage corruption and abuses of power by removing effective oversight.
About 200 people protested the Israeli government’s judicial overhaul outside Tesla’s California factory.
Sources: Reuters, The Jerusalem Post
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