Efi Arazi, A Technological Genius, Businessman And Father Of Israeli Hi-Tech, Dies At 76

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Technology whiz and entrepreneur built camera the Apollo 11 crew used to broadcast first pictures of the moon.

Efi Arazi, a pioneer of the Israeli high-tech industry and one of the must successful entrepreneurs in the State’s history has passed away Sunday on his 76th birthday.  Arazi founded digital printing firm Scitex, as well as a successful company called Electronics for Imaging (EFI).

Arazi served in the Israel Defense Forces at the Air Force Technological Academy. He earned an engineering degree in the 1960s at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, which accepted him despite the fact that he did not have a matriculation certificate.

Arazi began his career in the United States. While he was a student at MIT in 1969, he built the camera the Apollo 11 crew used to broadcast the first pictures of the moon. NASA continued to use his camera until 1995.

According to the website of the Inter-Disciplinary Center in Herzliya, when he was only 25, Arazi invented a revolutionary auto-focus mechanism, establishing himself as one of the most respected figures in the electro-optics industry.

After returning to Israel, he established the Scitex company (renamed Scailex Corporation in 2005), which introduced the first digital pre-press computer and CCD scanner to the world in 1979. Scitex became a world leader in digital printing with a sales record of more than $10 billion. Arazi stepped down as CEO and president of Scitex in 1988, but continued to serve as chairman of the board of directors of the company until January, 1989, when Robert Maxwell’s Mirror Group acquired a 27% stake in the company and Maxwell was appointed chairman.

Scitex was the first Israeli high-tech firm, and at its peak employed 4,000 people.

In 1990, at the age of 54, he founded EFI (Electronics for Imaging). The company invented a unique controller and program that made it possible to turn any copy-machine into a high-quality color printer, becoming an immediate success. EFI sold more than a million controllers and today employs approximately 1,000 people in 18 countries.

Arazi served as chairman of the Israeli company SeeRun, which developed a new technology to monitor and manage business processes, until his death.

Arazi was also active in philanthropy and founded the school of computer sciences at the Interdisciplinary Center in Herzliya. (via Gil Ronen, Israel National News)


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