It appears that that Apple will be opening its first development center outside the United States in Israel. The move reportedly is not related to the possible acquisition of the Israeli company Anobit, which develops flash storage solutions that provide Apple’s iPhone and iPad a competitive advantage over its competitors. Aharon Aharon, a veteran in the Israeli high-tech scene, has reportedly been chosen to head the Israeli center and is undergoing training in Apple’s headquarters in the United States. Aharon refused to comment on the issue, saying only that he is in the United States. But at least three managers in Israel’s high-tech industry confirmed that Ahraon will be a senior vice president of engineering at Apple, and head Apple’s development activities in Israel.

Meanwhile, Apple is reportedly planning to acquire the Israeli company Anobit for hundreds of millions of dollars. If a deal will be completed, it will mark the biggest deal Apple has made since 1996 when it acquired NeXT, a company founded by Steve Jobs, for $429 million. The decision to set up an Apple R&D center in Israel could explain why it might be pursuing a large player like Anobit. Apple usually confines itself to small-scale acquisitions to obtain intellectual property.

Appleā€™s interest in Israel began in 2008, when an Israeli Technyon graduate joined the Company in Cupertino. The Israeli high tech employee joined Apple after fullfiling various positions at Intel and IBM. It was during that time that he met Aharon Aharon. Today he serves as Vice Preseident of Microchips in Apple. In the US Patent Registrar there are two patents registered on the Israeli high tech employee’s name, both registered in 2009, during the time he was already employed at Apple.