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 Eastern Europe.
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 access.
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 abroad.
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 clearance.
Ninety percent of engineers at Galil Software are Arabs.
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 Danziger.
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, Danziger explained.
“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 higher education.
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.
A 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 nowhere.
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 public.
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.
Municipality approves 86 new names for streets in eastern part of city, including street named after legendary Egyptian singer
The Jerusalem Municipality has approved 86 new names for streets in the eastern part of the city, including a street named after legendary Egyptian singer Umm Kulthum.
East Jerusalem streets have been nameless for decades, making it difficult for residents to enjoy basic services such as mail. The Municipality decided to change this situation, approving names for Arab neighborhood streets.
“Naming all cities in east Jerusalem will improve the quality of life, and from now on every single resident will have his own address.”
Professional elements in the Municipality and members of the Names Committee remapped the city and located nameless streets in a bid to name them immediately in cooperation with East Jerusalem intellectuals, Arab villages’ leaders and the residents’ representatives.
(Reuters) – NBC’s new quiz show “Who’s Still Standing?” has contestants dropping through the floor, and the burgeoning Israeli TV industry whooping with delight.
The fast-paced trivia game, which sends losers falling through trap doors, makes its U.S. debut in a week-long series of shows this coming Monday, December 19, as the first Israeli reality program to find its way to the United States.
Judging by the in-roads being made by Israeli producers and creators on television around the world, it won’t be last.
Twenty years after Israeli television broke away from its one channel model of mostly news, and British or U.S. drama imports, young producers are making their mark internationally with original programming often made on shoestring budgets.
“It has been a quick learning process,” Tel Aviv-based producer Lisa Shiloach-Uzrad told Reuters. “We started with simple game shows and buying international formats and adapting them. But in the last few years we have seen more and more original programming, scripted shows, reality shows or game shows.”
“Who’s Still Standing?” (or “Still Standing” as it is called in Israel), has been sold to 13 countries including Spain, Hungary and France since Shiloach-Uzrad created the show in 2010 with business partner Amit Stretiner.
The duo are also the creative team behind “The Frame”, a reality show hybrid of “Big Brother” and “The Amazing Race” that has sold in 30 countries and is due to make its way to the CW network in the United States in 2012.
Elsewhere, cable channel Showtime’s critically-acclaimed psychological thriller “Homeland” has its creative roots in Israel, and HBO is making a U.S. version of Israeli crime drama “The Naked Truth”.
QUIZ, COMEDY AND TRAPDOORS
“Who’s Still Standing?” will be hosted on NBC by Ben Bailey and features one main competitor and 10 challengers in a battle of wits for a $1 million jackpot. As soon as a contestant answers a question incorrectly, they disappear through trap door and are out of the competition.
Shiloach-Uzrad, co-partner of Israel’s July August Productions, said she believed the show owed its success to a format that combines “a trivia show where the viewer is playing along and the comic effect of physical humour.”
“The Frame” was developed specifically for international audiences. It features eight couples who live in small rooms around the clock for all to see, and gives them challenges. The audience votes off the least popular couple.
“You see lots of reality shows where you take people out of their natural environment and put them into a fantasy land. In this case we said, what can be more intense than being closed in with your partner for 6-8 weeks in a very small space?,” Shiloach-Uzrad said.
The claustrophobic effect is both a product and a bonus from working with limited resources. HBO’s therapy drama “In Treatment”, adapted from another Israeli original, also found success by using a small number of actors sitting in one room.
“We have to work with low budgets. This means you really have to find smart and creative solutions to make things work,” said Shiloach-Uzrad.
“With scripted shows, you have to lean on high quality writing and good acting and great characters because there is no money for Hollywood special effects or car chases to cover up for weak plots,” she said.
JERUSALEM — Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg, meet your Israeli doppelganger: Mark Zuckerberg.
Israeli entrepreneur Rotem Guez says he has legally changed his name to that of Facebook’s CEO, a gimmick meant to persuade the social networking site to back down from what he says are threats to take legal action against him.
He’s telling Facebook: “If you want to sue me, you’re going to have to sue Mark Zuckerberg.”
He says a lawyer for Facebook pressed him this week to close his online business Like Store, calling it illegal. Like Store promises to enhance companies’ online reputations by offering Facebook users free content only accessible by clicking “like” on the companies’ profiles.