Queen Elizabeth awards Israeli businessman Haim Shani rare royal honor

The British Ambassador to Israel, David Quarrey, will appoint Shani as an Honorary Officer of the Order of the British Empire (OBE) on behalf of Queen Elizabeth II on Thursday.

October 23, 2018 18:08
2 minute read.
Shani Haim

Non-executive chairman of the UK Israel Tech Hub Haim Shani, pictured in May 2008. (photo credit: MAL LANGSDON/REUTERS)


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Queen Elizabeth II will award Israeli businessman Haim Shani a royal honor this week for his contribution to strengthening the technology partnership between the United Kingdom and Israel, Buckingham Palace announced on Tuesday.

UK Ambassador to Israel David Quarrey will appoint Shani as an Honorary Officer of the Order of the British Empire (OBE) on behalf of Queen Elizabeth II on Thursday.

Shani, a former director-general of the Finance Ministry and cofounder of Israel Growth Partners, has worked as non-executive chairman of the UK Israel Tech Hub since its establishment in 2011. He has overseen the delivery of 175 innovation partnerships between British and Israeli companies with a potential value to the British economy of up to £800 million (approx. $1.04 billion).

The Hub, a public-private initiative, operates out of the British Embassy in Israel and aims to promote technology and innovation partnerships between the two countries, notably in areas such as cybersecurity, financial technology, biomedicine, future retail and smart mobility.

“I am delighted to present this honor to Haim Shani on behalf of Her Majesty the Queen. Through his belief in the potential of collaboration between the UK and Israel, Haim has helped transform the tech partnership between the two countries,” Quarrey said.

“We have benefited hugely from Haim’s experience and wisdom. I am grateful to Haim for his role in making the UK Israel Tech Hub a success and for pioneering this new form of economic diplomacy.”

In recent years, bilateral trade between Israel and the UK has repeatedly broken records, reaching $7.2b. in 2016 and $9.1b. in 2017, according to the Central Bureau of Statistics. The UK is the second largest trading partner worldwide for Israeli goods, after the United States.

In the first half of 2018, amid uncertainty surrounding Britain’s trade future with its European neighbors, British exports to Israel soared by some 75%.

“In a short time the UK Israel Tech Hub has created fruitful collaborations which carry great value both for the UK economy and Israeli innovation.

The fact that the Palace chose to award me with this honor demonstrates how important this initiative is for the UK, and I am grateful for that,” said Shani.

“In light of the Hub’s success in the past seven years, the UK is now seeking opportunities to roll out the Israeli model worldwide.

Israeli innovation is in high demand in the UK, and the Hub will continue to create opportunities in the UK for ground-breaking innovation.”

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