Business Magnate George Soros: I'm Afraid to Come to Israel

NEW YORK - "I'm a coward, I'm afraid to come today to Israel," business magnate George Soros told Israel journalists at the World Economic Forum in New York on Sunday. The billionaire pointed out that he still has investments in Israel, and that he profited from his investments in the Indigo printing company, which was sold a few months ago to Hewlett Packard.

In general, Israel is getting less attention at the current gathering than that it received at previous forum meetings, and interest in investing in Israel is relatively low. Israel has a low number of participatns at the meeting. The leading Israeli businessmen attending are Yossi Vardi, Benni Steinmetz, Eidan Ofer and Danny Gillerman.

In addition, the Israeli-Arab conflict is getting less attention than it has in past years. Palestinian Authority Chairman Yasser Arafat was not invited to the event, while other PA officials who are attending - among them Palestinian Parliamentary Speaker Abu Ala and Mohammad Rashid, an economic advisor to Arafat - have received little attention.

Much of the discussion has centered around the tension between the West and Islam, but not on relations between Israel and the PA. Even statements by Prime Minister Ariel Sharon, to the effect that he regretted not having assassinated Arafat in Beirut in 1982, did not cause a stir.