Apple’s Aharon to head Israel Innovation Authority

CEO of Apple Israel will be in charge of promoting nation’s tech ecosystem, at the helm of entity formerly known as Office of the Chief Scientist

Shoshanna Solomon was The Times of Israel's Startups and Business reporter

Illustrative. A hand holds an iPhone next to the Apple logo (AFP PHOTO / Philippe HUGUEN)
Illustrative. A hand holds an iPhone next to the Apple logo (AFP PHOTO / Philippe HUGUEN)

The CEO of Apple’s Israel activities, Aharon Aharon, has been appointed to lead Israel’s Innovation Authority, the authority said in a statement. He will be in charge of strengthening and leading Israeli innovation.

The post was formerly known as the Office of the Chief Scientist of the Economy Ministry. The Authority is in charge of the nation’s innovation policies and aims to help foster resources and conditions to promote the nation’s technological ecosystem.

Aharon has served since 2011 as CEO of Apple Israel, and previously served in the IDF’s elite Intelligence Unit 8200. He holds two degrees from the Technion, in computer and electrical engineering. He began his career at IBM, and then moved on to work in a number of private sector posts, including at Zoran Corporation and Seabridge. Aharon was also involved in setting up two startups that were later sold in exit deals. He was instrumental in the establishment of Israel’s Apple activities.

“Israel sees innovation as a valuable resource” and the appointment of Aharon is “testimony to the importance Israel gives the issue,” by appointing someone with “such great experience and ability, who can take innovation a step further,” Avi Hasson, Israel’s Chief Scientist and chairman of the Israel Innovation Authority said in a statement. Hasson, 46, will be leaving his post in the coming months after heading the office for six years.

Economy Ministry Chief Scientist Avi Hasson (Photo credit: Courtesy)
Economy Ministry Chief Scientist Avi Hasson (Courtesy)

Among the key challenges Aharon will have to face are an acute shortage of skilled manpower the high-tech industry is facing, to help continue to fuel the tech sector, and also help expand the benefits of high tech to other parts of the economy, like the traditional industries. The high-tech industry contributes to 50 percent of Israeli exports but employs less than 10% of the workers in the economy.

“I give great importance to empowering the partnership of the government with the industry and aim to put the organization that I will lead at the service of the industry,” Aharon said in the statement.

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