Hamas Rockets Didn’t Stop Intel Israel From Thriving

With a new Israeli executive at international HQ and Kiryat Gat plant upgrade, Israel is very much part of chip maker’s plans.

Omer Shubert
Omer Shubert
Intel's Kiryat Gat semiconductor plant.
Intel's Kiryat Gat semiconductor plant.Credit: Intel Israel
Omer Shubert
Omer Shubert

After Dadi Perlmutter, the most senior Israeli at Intel and a candidate to take over as CEO, announced his resignation a year ago, there were concerns as to Israel’s status in the company. For the first time in years, there was no Israeli representative at Intel headquarters and doubts about whether the company would continue investing in its manufacturing plant in Israel.

But in April Intel announced it would upgrade the Kiryat Gat complex to 10-micron technology and earlier this month the government approved the $6 billion expansion, offering $300 million in aid.

Moreover, this month Intel announced that Israeli Amir Faintuch would be joining its headquarters as a senior vice president. Faintuch, who was recruited from a senior job at Intel rival Qualcomm, now becomes the senior Israeli at the semiconductor maker, at a rank equivalent to Perlmutter’s. Faintuch will be bringing Intel his rich experience in developing mobile chips.

“Fifteen years ago we asked ourselves all the time what will be with Israel? What will happen or not happen? But today no one asks the question,” says Shlomit Weiss, an Intel vice president and a company veteran. “Intel’s operations in Israel are critical for the company, and all the groups in the country have had a very good performance record, both the factory and the development groups.”

The security situation doesn’t disturb the executives at Intel HQ? They’re investing a lot of money now that was hurt by rockets.

“Operation Protective Edge didn’t affect operations in any way, in Kiryat Gat either. We opened a day-care center in the factory and the parents came with their children. There was a reinforced room and everything was fine. In the company we weren’t pressured by anything because we have a lot of backup programs. Every big database has a backup in the United States, so we’re ready for the most extreme scenarios. A lot of employees were called up for reserve duty, but operations continued.

“During the war we needed to reach certain milestones with the development of [Intel’s next-generation chip] Skylake and we met them. Hamas didn’t succeed in affecting development. At Intel global we planned it that work would continue as usual even in war time.”

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