“Diversity for us is part of how Apple achieves what it achieves, employing people for who they are and not because of their ethnicity or background.” – Apple CEO Tim Cook
Apple CEO Tim Cook is on a low-profile tour to Israel to explore business and development options and to inaugurate a new Apple center in Herzliyah, just north of Tel Aviv.
“It is a great privilege to host you and your team here in Israel,” President Reuven Rivlin said, greeting Cook at his residence in Jerusalem on Wednesday.
Rivlin lauded Apple’s contribution to humanity as “unprecedented.”
“Even for me, as one who prefers to write with a pen and paper, it is clear to me, when I see through my staff and my grandchildren, what a great miracle you have created,” he said.
‘Enormous Admiration for Israel’
“We have an enormous admiration for Israel, not just as an important ally for the US, but as a place to do business,” Cook responded.
Rivlin congratulated Cook on the opening of the new Apple center in Herzliya and expressed his hope that it will benefit the full spectrum of the Israeli population. “True innovation can only result from full access to education for all, regardless of race, religion, or sex. We would like to learn from your experience in the US, in bringing education and technology to periphery groups and communities.”
Apple’s new development center is spread across 12,500 square meters and will employee 800 employees, housing Apple Israel’s development center as well as the marketing and sales division.
Education and Diversity – the Key to Change
The Israeli president also noted his pride at the inclusion in the delegation of Johny Srouji, vice-president of Hardware Technology at Apple and a member of the Israeli-Arab community, born in Haifa. “Imagine what the world would be like with another five Johny Sroujis. We are proud of him, and all he has achieved,” Rivlin declared.
“Diversity for us is part of how Apple achieves what it achieves, employing people for who they are and not because of their ethnicity or background. When we work like this, we celebrate diversity and benefit on all sides,” Cook said.
He pointed to Rivlin’s activism in the field, saying, “I personally admire your work in human rights. You are an inspiration for us to work even better.”
The president and the CEO spoke at length about the role of education in the advancement of various populations, the wide range of Apple’s educational activities in underprivileged areas and about possible future cooperation to promote equal access to education in areas that are lacking. “We must learn from you how to help our students also in difficult places, as you have done in many schools in the US,” Rivlin said.
“We are huge believers in education and always felt that education is the great equalizer,” Cook told Rivlin. “We are working hard to bring schools that have under-served children to a much higher level. We chose 120 schools from across the US, and we are working hard in the classroom to help the children and their access to education.”
“The will to leave a better world for our children and grandchildren is perhaps the greatest motivator, and listening to you, Mr. President, speak about your beliefs, is incredibly inspiring, and it has to be making a difference across the region,” the Apple executive concluded.
Cook also held meetings with former President Shimon Peres and with Israel’s senior high-tech figures.