Since 2018, Apple has been operating an R&D center in the Palestinian city of Rawabi, the US tech giant has revealed. Apple's announcement followed a meeting between Apple SVP hardware technologies Johny Srouji, the most senior Israeli in the Apple hierarchy, and President Isaac Herzog. According to the announcement, Apple's Palestinian R&D center, which has been successfully meeting its goals while operating under the radar, will expand its operations in the Palestinian Authority in the coming years.
Apple has hired the services of Ramallah-based development contractor ASAL Technologies, which recruited the first five Palestinian engineers in 2018 to be based in the Apple R&D center, in nearby Rawabi. Since then, Apple's Palestinian R&D center has grown and today has 60 engineers, working together with Israeli teams in Herzliya and Haifa, on tools and products for developing hardware technologies.
Apple is not the only company that works with ASAL Technologies, which is the development contractor of choice for US tech corporations operating in Israel, seeking a way to find talented tech workers in the Palestinian Authority. ASAL's customers include Intel, Mellanox-Nvidia, Microsoft, and LivePerson.
The setting up of Apple's Rawabi R &D center has involved Palestinian-American billionaire Bashar Masri, who founded Rawabi with assistance from Qatar, to fulfil his vision of providing high standard housing for young Palestinians, at an average price of $100,000 per home. Masri is also a member of ASAL's board of directors and is behind the Siraj Palestine Fund, which has raised $90 million for investment in the Palestinian Authority. "Our work with Apple provides major careers and high salaries for more Palestinians every year," Masri said in Apple's announcement.
Apple also revealed that its Israeli R&D centers, founded 10 years ago, currently employ 2,000 people. In addition to tools for the M chips, processors that are being designed to replace Intel chips in Mac computers, the Israeli development centers are responsible for Apple's internal identification technology, wireless technology for Apple watches, and data storage management technology for all the company's products.
According to Srouji, a Haifa born Israeli Arab and Technion graduate, who has been based in the US in recent decades, Apple's Rawabi R&D center expresses the commitment of the company to its values of social diversity and inclusivity in its workforce. "We have found a way to put emphasis on a substantive and important issue in the Middle East," Srouji said. "We know that in order for substantial change to become sustainable, it must have business logic, so that locating talented employees in places like the Palestinian Authority, enlarges our network of quality engineers."
Published by Globes, Israel business news - en.globes.co.il - on June 29, 2022.
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