Afternoon Tea in Jerusalem Blog

Life in Israel

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Israeli commercial life and society

In addition to my work as a business coach, one of my interests is blogging about life in Israel. This is a country full of contrasts – over eight million citizens living in an area the size of Wales. You can see snow and the lowest place on the globe in the same day. Although surrounded by geopolitical extremes, Israel has achieved a decade of high economic growth. My work brings me in contact with an array of new companies, exciting technologies and dynamic characters. Sitting back with a relaxing cup of strong tea (with milk), you realise just how much there is to appreciate in the Holyland. Large or small operations, private sector or non profit, my clients provide experiences from which others can learn and benefit.

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The golden delicious Apple of Israeli hightech

Jonny Srouji is one of those characters that proves how high-tech is open to all. An Israeli, Christian, via Intel and IBM, he has made his way up the ladder to become Apple’s senior vice president of Hardware Technologies. In an interview last week, he gave a fascinating summary, detailing why and how Israel is so important to Apple’s future plans.

For example, Srouji is very proud of Apple’s A-11 Bionic chip. It’s CPU and graphics are the core of the wow part of the iPhone8. And that is not all. Israeli tech is powering the Apple Watch, and the storage component in every Apple device. As Srouji said:

The (Apple) team in Israel is a key part of the overall engineering team in the U.S. and other areas of the world – wherever we have our R&D. The things they do are key to any device we ship, to all devices.

The interview notes that Apple has been associated with Israel since 2011, currently employing around 900 techies. Much of this growth has been fostered via acquisitions such as Annobit Technologies. Srouji implied that more are being considered.

It is important to state that Apple is only following where companies like Intel had led the way. And in the current climate of female empowerment, the chip manufacturer has just announced that it intends to recruit hundreds more women software engineers for its plant in Kiryat Gat, southern Israel. According to information in the Hebrew press, barely 30% of positions in high-tech are filled by women. And when it comes to management, that ratio drops to 19%.

Who will be next? Dieter Zetsche, chairman of automaker Daimler A.G., opened the company’s r&d centre in Tel Aviv this week. This will be the company’s base to design user interfaces for its vehicles and biometric authentication for navigation. They are the fifth global automotive manufacturer to take such a step.

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