This article was first published on The Times of Israel and was re-posted with permission.
With 700-plus direct employees in Israel, the Herzliya R&D center is Apple’s second-largest in the world, Apple CEO Tim Cook told local staff on Thursday.
And at a meeting with Israeli President Reuven Rivlin a day earlier, the two leaders discussed not just the fact of Israel’s emergence as an important factor in the Apple ecosystem, but what the two entities had in common.
Cook, who was in Israel to inaugurate Apple’s new R&D center in Herzliya, touched on a number of major issues that concern both Israel and Apple — including environmental matters, education, diversity, and even Israeli Arabs.
That last issue was highlighted not by Cook himself, but by Johny Srouji, who accompanied his boss on the trip. Srouji — vice president for hardware technology — is an Israeli Arab who hails from Haifa. Before joining Apple in 2008 to head its chip-development team, Srouji worked at Intel and IBM, after graduating from the Technion.
For Rivlin, Srouji’s ascent to one of the top tech positions in the world was a harbinger of what the government hopes will be a wave of similar accomplishments by people just like Srouji — Israeli Arabs educated in technology disciplines, working at the 300-some multinationals that have R&D and other facilities in Israel.
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