20 million shekels in funding goes toward Arab, hi-tech integration

The Israel Innovation Authority and the Directorate General of Labor have published a tender in order to promote the incorporation of Arabs into Israel’s hi-tech sector.

 Israeli flags flutter at a business park housing hi-tech companies, at Ofer Park in Petah Tikva. (photo credit: RONEN ZVULUN/REUTERS)
Israeli flags flutter at a business park housing hi-tech companies, at Ofer Park in Petah Tikva.
(photo credit: RONEN ZVULUN/REUTERS)

In a continued effort to enable Israel’s Arab population to integrate into the hi-tech sector, the Israel Innovation Authority (IIA) and the Directorate General of Labor have issued a tender offering NIS 20 million to entities that develop innovative training and placement programs in the tech industry for the Arab sector, as part of the Human Capital Fund pathway.

In the tender published last week, the two bodies invited corporations, NGOs, employers and others to open gateways for the Arab population to get into Israel’s hi-tech industry. The organizations intend to provide grants of up to 70% of the approved budget for programs and models that facilitate their goals.

Arab citizens of Israel account for 21% of the overall population, yet their proportion within the tech industry is only 2% to 3%,” said IIA CEO Dror Bin.

“The Arab population in Israel has huge unexplored growth potential, and integrating it into the broader Israeli economy, and especially the tech industry is the key to narrowing socioeconomic gaps and ensuring sustainable economic growth – even more so at a time when we are seeing enormous growth in the number of Arab students and graduates in tech subjects,” he said.

“The Innovation Authority already has 14 dedicated training and placement programs for the Arab sector,” he said. “We also set up a dedicated program to encourage entrepreneurship in the Arab community that includes innovation centers, accelerators and angel clubs. The present call to tender therefore aims to expand the models and programs for training and integrating STEM and other tech-adjacent subjects into the tech industry.”

“Arab citizens of Israel account for 21% of the overall population, yet their proportion within the tech industry is only 2% to 3%.”

Dror Bin, CEO of the Innovation Authority

Labor Director-General Tair Ifergan noted the importance of integrating Arab workers into the growing hi-tech sector. “There is widespread demand for skilled employees in the tech sector, and it must expand its talent pool to attract talents from new sources,” she said.

Dror Bin, the Innovation Authority’s CEO (credit: ISRAEL INNOVATION AUTHORITY)Dror Bin, the Innovation Authority’s CEO (credit: ISRAEL INNOVATION AUTHORITY)

“At present, one in eight non-Haredi Jewish men already work in tech (among men aged 25-35). In the Arab sector, that number is only one in 52 among men and one in 118 among women," Ifergan said. "This response provides a solution to the needs of the market and the tech sector, as well as supporting the government’s 2030 employment targets.”

Over the last year

Over the last year, the Directorate General of Labor has trained over 100,000 people via training and studies at technical colleges for practical engineers, with a focus on promoting candidates from diverse communities, Ifergan noted, adding that this tender is yet another step in that journey.

“This joint call to tender will promote new programs and solutions to meaningfully scale up and expand the percentage of Arab Israelis employed in the tech industry,” she said.