Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu met with Volkswagen CEO Herbert Diess in his Jerusalem office Wednesday.
Noting that he had just returned from speaking at the 8th International Cybersecurity Conference, Netanyahu told Diess that “protecting vehicles is a main goal,” according to a statement from the Prime Minister’s Office.
The premier said that he was pleased to hear that Volkswagen is looking to invest in Israel.
Last month, Volkswagen officially opened its “innovation campus” in Tel Aviv, which will be the focus of its research and development activities in Israel.
The campus has already started operations in Israel, via which the German automotive giant is partnering with local entrepreneurs and startups to develop autonomous vehicles and mobility, big data and cybersecurity technologies.
Called Konnect, the campus is based in Tel Aviv, and will enable local startups to get access to the group and its brands. The campus will promote business cooperation and support the development of new technologies, with Volkswagen experts mentoring and following the companies.
VW has been embroiled in a scandal in recent years that allegedly involved two top Israeli officials. In September 2015, the US Environmental Protection Agency served a Notice of Violation on Volkswagen, alleging that some 480,000 VW and Audi vehicles had been fitted with software able to dupe tests by concealing real pollution emissions.
Two of the most senior figures forced to resign at that time were Ferdinand Piëch, a former chairman and CEO of the Volkswagen Group, who was then serving as the chairman of VW’s supervisory board, and Martin Winterkorn, then chairman of the board of directors of the Volkswagen Group’s parent company, Volkswagen AG.
In February 2017, German media linked Yuval Diskin, who led the Shin Bet from 2005 to 2011 and Avi Primor, the ambassador to Germany from 1993 to 1999, to the scandal, saying they had prior knowledge of the tampering and gave the information to Piëch and Winterkorn.
Both Israelis vehemently denied knowing any knowledge in the “Dieselgate” test emissions scandal, and none of the German reports specified how or why they would have obtained the information on the emissions fraud.