MK Eli Cohen
MK Eli CohenMiriam Alster/Flash 90

Israeli Economy and Industry Minister Eli Cohen (Kulanu) selected Dr. Ami Appelbaum to serve as the next Chairman of the Israel Innovation Authority (IIA) and as Chief Scientist.

Appelbaum joins IIA CEO Aharon Aharon, former CEO of Apple Israel.

Thirty-nine candidates applied for the position. Appelbaum was selected from among the three finalists, who were chosen by a selection committee headed by the Economy and Industry Ministry Director General Shay Rinsky.

The IIA is Israel’s central agency and manages governmental support for innovation throughout Israel industry. Officially launched in 2016, the IIA enjoys a budget of NIS 1.6 billion to support a professional framework promoting innovation. Its key aim is to promote economic prosperity through technological innovation, industrial development, and services for the knowledge industry. These make it competitive on a global scale and improve through technological innovation productivity in the private sector, particularly in the manufacturing industries.

Dr. Appelbaum has 35 years of experience as a scientist, entrepreneur, business administrator, operational and technological manager at the Defense Ministry, as well as years of experience in the Israeli high-tech industry. Over the past six years, he has been serving as President of KLA-Tencor Israel, the Migdal Haemek-based Israeli arm of the world's largest manufacturer in the semiconductor industry, with a market value of $12 billion. He led expansion of the company's sales in Israel from $30 million to its current annual sales of $500 million.

Appelbaum has both a PhD and Masters degrees from the Department of Materials Science and Engineering at the Technion in Haifa, as well as a BA in Materials Engineering from Ben Gurion University in Be'er Sheva.

Appelbaum's appointment as Chairman of the IIA is expected to become effective this week.

"Dr. Appelbaum is man of enormous experience and who will take innovation and the Israeli high-tech industry to the next level," Cohen said. "He will bolster local companies and encourage more international companies to launch R&D and production activities in Israel."

"Appelbaum's experience in production and export as part of an international corporation in Israel will play a crucial role in encouraging additional companies to move from R&D to production. Dr. Appelbaum and Aharon Aharon come from different backgrounds in the high-tech industry and will complement one another.

"I have no doubt they will work in tandem to bolster Israel as the ‘Startup Nation,’ leveraging this national treasure in the continued development of the Israeli economy."