Mobileye Global Inc. (Nasdaq: MBLY) CEO Prof. Amnon Shashua has expressed himself several times on social media over the past few month on the subject of the Israeli government's planned judicial overhaul but last night he did so in front of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. Speaking at the ceremony where he was awarded the Israel Prize for his life's work, he said, "We must join forces and resolve the crisis while strictly observing the principle of separation of powers and respecting all state institutions: the legislative, executive and judicial authorities. This is so we don't lose everything we have achieved. If we don't know how to do this, even miracles won't help."
Shashua is one of the leaders of Israel's tech industry who has not joined the protests against the judicial overhaul. Others include Check Point CEO Gil Shwed, Palo Alto Networks founder and CTO Nir Zuk. Shashua's 'official' remarks had previously been vague and general. "It seems that many agree that judicial reform in Israel is required," he wrote on LinkedIn in February, adding, "But how is it correct to carry out reform in a complex country like ours? When you are a leader it is important to be cautious, the price of a mistake in implementing an imprudent reform is too great. Don't rush. Stop. Take the time to think, deliberate, consult, and examine the consequences with an open heart and mind."
Earlier this month Shashua and Mobileye were forced to issue a clarification after he was outspoken during a discussion on keeping user data on servers in Israel. Shashua believed that Mobileye would be compelled to move more operations out of Israel, following demands by the EU to keep user data in countries recognized as democratic. After his comments were leaked to Channel 12 News, the company stressed that, "Mobileye has not considered and is not considering leaving Israel." Previously, he had to publish a clarification about an incident that took place at the company. "I make sure not to express political positions despite the pressures on me to do so, with the understanding that I represent all of you. The company's employees represent all sectors of the people of Israel - an absolutely impressive representation," he wrote in March, after one of his employees gave a lecture against the legal reform on his own initiative and presented a hostile legal position. Shashua tried to stay away from the protest but it still found a way into his offices. He wrote, "I understand that the lecture caused a feeling of discomfort among some of the employees who participated in it or heard about it, I regret that and acknowledge that there was an error in judgment - mainly mine - when we approved the lecture."
At the Israel Prize ceremony, Shashua also spoke about AI, which is expected to harm many professions and significantly change many industries. One of his portfolio companies is AI21 Labs, which has developed a natural language processing model that provides Amazon with the equivalent language capabilities that OpenAI gives Microsoft. "The world is moving fast forward and we have no time to procrastinate. We live in a time when technological transformations occur at a tremendous speed. Computing technologies are on their way to cross a critical threshold for humanity. Computers have become machines that can be thinking partners for humans. Countries and societies that will not be able to understand the magnitude of the revolution in time will be left behind and will provide the wood cutters and water bearers of those who were able to understand the magnitude of the hour."
Published by Globes, Israel business news - en.globes.co.il - on April 27, 2023.
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