Yehuda and Zohar Zisapel: Pioneers of Israel's Hi-Tech Industry
Yehuda, born on April 12, 1942, and Zohar, born on February 15, 1949, Zisapel are the trailblazers of Israel's hi-tech industry and its prominent figures.
The Zisapel brothers were born in Tel Aviv to parents of Polish descent. Yehuda holds a bachelor's and a master's degree in electrical engineering from the Technion, Israel Institute of Technology, and a second master's degree in business administration from the Graduate School of Business at Tel Aviv University.
Zohar, on the other hand, earned his bachelor's degree in electrical engineering from the Technion and a second master's degree in business administration from the Recanati Faculty of Management at Tel Aviv University.
In 1975, Yehuda founded "Bitcom Agencies," a small private company that marketed communication products. Bitcom, which later changed its name to "Bynet Communications," represented important international manufacturers and was the first to introduce innovative communication technologies to the Israeli market.
In the early 1980s, the Zisapel brothers decided to shift their focus to manufacturing and developing communication products for export in Israel. "Rad Data Communications," the first company they established together, is the cornerstone of the Rad-Bynet group. Over the years, 27 more independent hi-tech companies were added to the group, dedicated to developing, producing, and marketing a wide range of data communication products, including Rad Data Communications.
As of 2013, Rad-Bynet comprises 10 Israeli companies specializing in data communication. Zohar Zisapel currently serves as the president of the Rad-Bynet group, while Yehuda is the CEO of Rad Data Communications. Each of the group's member companies has at least one of the brothers serving on its board of directors.
In addition to their work in the hi-tech sector, the Zisapel brothers play leading roles in the development and promotion of Israel's biotechnology industry. In December 1991, Yehuda and his wife, Prof. Nechama, a neurochemistry professor at Tel Aviv University, founded "Neurim," a company focused on discovering and developing pharmaceuticals.
Their first approved drug, based on melatonin and designed to assist with sleep disorders, was launched in the European Union in October 2007. Together, the Zisapel brothers established RAD Bio-Med Incubator Ltd., a startup incubator providing space, initial funding, and various services to projects in the biomedicine field.
The Zisapel brothers are committed to giving back to the community through their companies' management. The "RAD Association" of Rad Data Communications annually awards hundreds of scholarships to outstanding, economically disadvantaged students specializing in engineering and computer science.
The association also donates approximately 15 computers each year to community centers and educational institutions serving at-risk children and youth. Among other contributions, the association lends musical instruments to outstanding students, including a Stradivarius violin to the principal violinist of the Israel Philharmonic Orchestra.
Under the auspices of the Technion Alumni Association, led by Yehuda for six years, the Zisapel brothers initiated two projects harnessing the skills of Technion alumni as tutors and mentors for underprivileged youth in towns and communities across Israel. The program "Workers from 3 to 5" targets youth in peripheral settlements in the north and south of Israel, aiming to enhance their mathematical skills.
The "City of Excellence" program, launched by Yehuda in Bat Yam, works to achieve similar goals by focusing on youth residing in central Israel but studying in underprivileged educational frameworks lacking the necessary resources for nurturing excellence.
Another project championed by Yehuda, called "Engineers from the Periphery," is designed to enable combat soldiers from peripheral regions of Israel to improve their achievements and pursue university-level scientific education.
Yehuda and Zohar also made a significant contribution of 4.5 million dollars to the Technion for the establishment of the Nanotechnology Center in memory of their parents.
Throughout their careers, the Zisapel brothers have received numerous awards and honors. In 1994, they were jointly awarded the Entrepreneurship Award by the Tel Aviv University School of Business Administration. The award recognized their substantial contribution to entrepreneurship in Israel, their innovative spirit in the fields of development, production, and export of communication products, and their technological entrepreneurship, which serves as a model in Israel and around the world.
In 1996, Zohar received the Hugo Ramniceanu Award for Economics, and in 1999, the Life Achievement Award from the Manufacturers Association of Israel. In 2005, Yehuda and Zohar Zisapel were honored with the Israeli High-Tech Award from the Israel Venture Association (IVA). In 2007, they were both awarded the Max Perlman Global Business Excellence Award from Tel Aviv University. In addition, the Technion awarded them honorary doctorate degrees.
In 1977, Zohar Zisapel received the Israel Security Award.
Yehuda's son, Roee Zisapel, serves as the CEO of Radware, a member of the Rad-Bynet group, and Zohar's daughter, Kalyil Zisapel, is a renowned author.
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