High tech success story in north
Photo: Jupiter
Sound of church bells in background. Nazareth
Photo: Yifat Mizrahi

High-tech firm boosts Arab employment

Entrepreneurs establish software development company to fill employment void in Galilee's Arab sector. 'We saw an opportunity to build profitable business with social activism element,' says founder

Jimmy Levy, a former department head at Comverse had a vision establishing an advanced high-tech center in an area plagued by unemployment.


In order to realize his dream, Levy turned to former Comverse CEOs Zeevi Bergman and Itsik Danziger, and the three established Galil Software in December 2007.


The three then approached Inas Said, an entrepreneur and veteran high tech man with experience in Israeli and foreign companies, and appointed him as the company's chief executive officer.


Galil Software develops and tests outsourced software for Israeli and foreign high tech firms. "We supply the same services as companies in India and China, only half an hour away from Tel Aviv," Said said.


"We speak the same language, have the same cultural codes of conduct and operate in the same time zone, not to mention the high quality of our services," he said.


However, the company most unique feature is its employees.


12% female employees

As soon as the company began its recruitment process in March 2008, it received hundreds of resumes from talented Arab engineers who resided in the area and were looking for a job.


Within several months, the company's staff included over 60 employees, and two years later the figure  surpassed 100.


"From the very beginning, we felt we had the opportunity to build a profitable business that also has an social activism element and helps boost employment in the Galilee," Said said.


"Before Galil Software was founded, many software engineers from the Arab sector had trouble entering the Israeli high tech industry," he said."However, we operate according to a multiculturalism policy, like international firms, and hire Jews, Arabs, religious, seculars, women and men."


Levy noted that "only 20% of Arab engineers in Israel find a job immediately after completing their studies, and women from the Arab sector are not even included in statistics. However, 12% of our employees are female, including a woman on the executive board."


Reem Huri, a software engineer working at Galil Software, recounted the difficulties she encountered at first. "When I finished my studies, I was concerned that I may not find a job and have to work as a teacher, like many of my friends," she said,


"I sent my resume to dozens of firms and didn't get a single answer. Here, I feel valuable and appreciated. There is no pay difference between men and women, which is not the case in other places," she said.


The company's offices are located on Nazareth's main street, alongside mosques, churches and hummus restaurants. During a regular workday, one can hear the calls of the muezzin and sounds of church bells in the background.


Galil Software is probably one of the only companies in Israel where can find a calendar marking Jewish, Christian and Muslim holidays, and each employee has the liberty to take days off according to his or her faith.


"Only here you can see Jews wearing skullcaps sitting next to Muslim women. Our board meetings start off with some black coffee that we prepare in the kitchenette," Said concluded with a smile.



פרסום ראשון: 11.04.10, 20:18
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