Efi Arazi Was in a Class All by Himself –MichelsonMay 2013 By Mark Michelson
Heralded as the founder of the Israeli high-tech industry and even described as the Israeli Steve Jobs, Efraim "Efi" Arazi died April 14th on his 76th birthday after suffering a long bout with Alzheimer's disease. As the founder of Scitex in 1968—the first high-tech company based in Israel—his pioneering developments in the early 1980s brought once-laborious, manual prepress and scanning processes into the digital age, enabling direct-to-film and, ultimately, computer-to-plate print production. Under his stewardship, Scitex also became a worldwide leader in digital printing with sales of more than $900 million and some 4,000 employees at its peak.
When Robert Maxwell's Mirror Group acquired a stake in Scitex in 1989 and Maxwell was appointed chairman, Efi Arazi left Scitex and founded EFI (Electronics for Imaging) the following year. Again, his technological genius and keen entrepreneurial spirit led to the development of the Fiery controller, which enabled the transformation of copying machines into high-quality color printers.
His legacy in the graphic arts industry lives on through the entrepreneurial, innovative and visionary spirit that rubbed off on many ex-Scitex employees, who've left big industry footprints in their own right.
Efi Arazi's technological contributions extended beyond the printing industry—and at a young age. An MIT engineering graduate, he is credited with co-developing at Harvard the television camera that the Apollo 11 crew used to broadcast the first pictures of the moon. At age 25, Mr. Arazi also invented an auto-focus mechanism, establishing himself early on as a respected figure in the electro-optics industry.
As Dalit Milstein, who published a biography of Efi Arazi called "His Way" in 2005, noted, "...people who came into contact with him got fairy dust on their hands. He had a golden touch and also an inspirational personality. They say that he was a startup man to the core. What I can say is that he was someone who knew how to discover other people, and he became important in the lives of everyone who met him." Perhaps this was Efi Arazi's greatest accomplishment of all.