Israel’s tech sector just might be resting on its laurels.
Shmuel Eden, president of Intel Israel and senior vice president of Intel Corp., said that Israel’s reputation as a start-up nation has caused Israeli innovators, who think their work is done now that Israel is internationally recognized as a leader in cutting-edge innovation, to feel complacent.
This attitude is dangerous for Israel’s economy, Eden said, speaking at a parlor event in Bel Air on Feb. 19.
The program, which was organized by the Southern California chapter of the American Technion Society (ATS), featured the Israeli business leader giving a keynote on “The Cornerstone of the Start-Up Nation.”
During the 60-minute talk, Eden emphasized that Israel needs to continue to be daring if the country plans to keep up — especially given that globalization has leveled the playing field so much and made it easier for outsiders to steal ideas.
“The competition is scary, and you cannot keep anything for yourself,” he said.
Eden is an alumnus of the Technion-Israel Institute of Technology in Haifa, and his son currently goes to school there. As the head of Intel Israel, he is responsible for overseeing all of Intel Israel’s operations and strategies. He began working for the company in 1982.
Many in the crowd — which numbered more than a hundred — were dressed in suits and ties. Not Eden. Known as “Mooly” and boasting an Israeli accent, he wore a backward Kangol cap, a black blazer, black T-shirt and black slacks. The microphone-equipped headpiece he used, coupled with the film director’s chair he sat in during introductory remarks, completed the post-modern artist look.
A resident of Israel, he was in Los Angeles as part of a speaking tour that included a stop in Santa Clarita and was arranged by Peretz Levie, president of Technion. The idea was that Eden would educate the Diaspora about the school’s accomplishments and, in so doing, increase awareness for a school in need of funds. (ATS, which has chapters all around the country, helps raise donations for the Technion.)
The event took place at the home of Hayley and Michael Miller, who are supporters of ATS. Eden appeared before an audience including current supporters of the Israeli institution and people interested in learning more about the university.
Lindsay Conner, an entertainment attorney and husband of ATS Southern California Chapter President Rena Conner, told the Journal that the evening was a “friend-
raising event.” It was free and by invitation only.
And it just may have accomplished its mission. Speaking as the Millers’ living room was emptying out, Jennifer Sternberg, 46, said that Eden’s lecture had impressed upon her the importance of American-Jewish support for the institution.
Attendees enjoyed a pre-keynote cocktail hour in the backyard. Additional speakers at the event included David Siegel, the consul general of Israel in Los Angeles; Rena Conner; and Miller, a board member of ATS Southern California.