Computer technology keyboard 311 (R).
(photo credit:Reuters/Catherine Benson)
Some 140 Israeli Arabs have been trained as hi-tech engineers and are working at
Galil Software, a company in Nazareth – providing the country with urgently
needed sophisticated manpower, instead of outsourcing engineers in India and
The company was set up three years ago by Yitzhak
Danziger to integrate Arabs in the industry, where networking with people from
the Israel Defense Forces leads to jobs, but to which Arabs lack
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Danziger, a Technion-Israel Institute of Technology electrical
engineering graduate, spoke about this mission to help people at the Clore
Foundation symposium on science and society held Thursday at the Bloomfield
Science Museum in Jerusalem.
The veteran telecommunications and
technology executive with 10 years of experience in board positions at
non-profit organizations said there are 80,000 Jewish academics in hi-tech
positions, but only about 500 Arabs in the industry.
The country’s severe
shortage of engineers force companies to outsource personnel from
Besides the lack of connections from military service, Arab
academics also suffer from stereotypes among managers, the “foreign” Arab
culture, living in more distant geographical areas and the fact that some
engineering projects relate to the security field for which Arabs do not have
Ninety percent of engineers at Galil Software are
But Danziger said: “There are many talented Arab engineers who are
very motivated.” While haredi women with large families have been trained for
programming jobs so they can support their families while their husbands study
in yeshivot, said Danziger, “they take short courses of a few months, have not
graduated from universities abroad, can’t travel abroad and prefer not to mix
with male colleagues.
Arab engineers do not have these problems,” said
Although ordering jobs from software engineers abroad is
cheaper than here, he continued, the fact that the engineers are in Israel is
desirable because of the efficiency, proximity and lack of cultural gaps,
“In 10 more years, we will be able to train thousands
of Arab engineers who will become integrated in hi-tech and can even set up
startup companies,” he said.
In the long term, Danzinger continued, Arab
high school pupils who are told about the possibility of working in hi-tech will
become integrated in the industry if they learn relevant subjects and go on to
Another example of scientists working for the benefit
of Israeli society was Prof. Shimon Schocken, founding dean of the Efi Arazi
School of Computer Science at Herzliya’s Interdisciplinary Center.
certified mountain biking instructor who in the last decade has ridden more than
30,000 kilometers on five continents, Schocken “adopted” a juvenile institution
for teenage boys who had been in trouble with the law and were going
Every Tuesday in all weather for the last five years, he has led
expeditions on wheels for youths in trouble to various parts of the country,
from the Golan Heights to the Negev, and providing them with the best bikes,
outfits and other equipment.
Although some cursed at him and even threw
things at first, they came to respect and love him and developed self confidence
as they became acquainted with parts of the country rarely visited by the
Riding with them 50 km. a day are hi-tech managers, doctors,
lawyers and others.
“I do it, because I enjoy it. I feel like I’m on the
roof of the world,” he said.
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