Hi - Tech Initiative Gives the Lie to Israeli "Apartheid" / Ray Cook

08 Mar 2011
You may have missed the launch in February this year of an initiative by Israeli President Shimon Peres to integrate Israeli Arabs into the Hi-Tech workforce.

The President expressed the need to optimise Israel’s resources and the talents of its Arab population. Whilst admitting there was discrimination and an economic gap, the initiative is meant to help close that gap to the benefit of all Israeli citizens.

Far from being an ‘apartheid’ state, Israel is seen here to be making efforts to further integrate Arabs into the workforce where they already play an increasingly important role in many areas such as medicine, eduation and commerce.

The companies who recognized the importance of integrating and promoting Israeli Arabs into this sector and joined the President’s initiative include: Intel, SanDisk, Cisco, Microsoft, TowerJazz, HP, SAP, IBM, Live Person, TaKaDu, NICE, CA, ECI, RSA, Oracle, Amdocs, Check Point, Mellanox, Redmatch and EMC2 .
Here are my highlights of Presidint Peres’ address:
I call on young Arabs to participate in this initiative. Our intentions are serious and sincere. This is a “win-win situation” – it is good for the Arab sector, good for the country, good for the economy, and good for Hi-Tech companies…

There is nothing in Israeli law that discriminates against Israeli Arabs. What discriminates against them is the economic gaps and we must correct this discrimination. It will only be corrected when there will be islands of hi-tech in the Arab sector and Israeli Arab workers in the Israeli hi-tech industry. The inclusion of Israeli Arabs into the Israeli hi-tech sector will be a social blessing and a blessing for the Israeli economy. There are talented Israeli Arabs in the sciences and there is no reason why they shouldn’t be integrated. This is a call to action. Correcting discrimination will be based on science and technology. I would like to see you do this from an internal desire. This quiet revolution can be done. It is entirely based on good will…

I see a need to reduce gaps in Israel. We are beginning to feel a shortage of qualified hi-tech workers and the sector needs people. As a result, I believe that this initiative is not a philanthropic one, but rather a real economic need for the Israeli economy which is based on technology and hi-tech as its main livelihood…
The initiative seeks to facilitate the move from University into the workforce. Many Arabs are well-qualified but lack the social confidence or the belief that they can be accepted.
A website, maantech.org.il, has been set up as a part of this initiative. On its home page it announces:
Our mission is to launch the natural integration of Arab employees into the Israeli high tech industry by supporting both candidates and employers throughout the entire recruitment process.

The full text of the press release can be found here.
The Ma’an website maantech.org.il, in English, is here.

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