President Shimon Peres and Cisco Systems Chairman and CEO John Chambers
announced the expansion of Ma’antech, an initiative which promotes Arab
recruitment to Israel’s leading hi-tech companies, at the Presidential
Conference in Jerusalem Wednesday.
Launched in February last year by
Peres and Chambers, Ma’antech is operated by a coalition including recruiter
Manpower and NGO Kav Mashve. Until now, 22 Israeli and Israeli-based hi-tech
companies, including Intel, Microsoft, IBM, Hewlett Packard, Amdocs, Sandisk and
Nice Systems, have employed Arabs through the program.
several more names were added to that list, including communications firms
Bezeq, Teldor and OnTarget.
Peres declared hi-tech the impetus for “the
greatest revolution” in human history, explaining that it has bridged gaps
between communities in ways that no politician could ever have done. Giving the
example of Israel’s own Arab city of Nazareth and Jewish city of Upper Nazareth,
he said initiatives such as Chambers’ had turned the two Nazareths into
The president heaped praise upon Chambers and other prominent
business leaders in the audience, including Publicis Groupe Chairman and CEO
Maurice Levy, France Telecom Group Chairman and CEO Stephane Richard and US
Federal Communications Commission Chairman Julius Genachowski, for their
contributions to society.
“Technology is the means, the goal is the human
being,” he said, adding that the business leaders had created change both within
their own companies and in the world.
These leaders want their own
workers to take the initiative and express themselves, he said, “because today
democracy is not just about free expression but also about
Chambers said Israeli-Arabs were being absorbed into
the hi-tech industry at a rate of 1,000 new employees per year, adding that
increasing this to 12,000 in the next four years was an achievable
Like most positive initiatives, he said, “this will also be good
for the economy and for Israel… Just think what 12,000 extra people would do to
GDP growth in this country.”