As Tech Jobs Go Unfilled, Israel Looks to Hire More ArabsNov. 6, 2014
Joseph Karkaby, a 24-year-old Israeli Arab, was chosen for a government-subsidized internship while still in college because his grades were so good.
Yet he received no replies to the hundreds of resumes he sent out after graduation -- until he removed references to his background, including changing his hometown from the Arab village of Shfaram to the mostly Jewish city of Haifa.
“In three weeks I had three contracts to choose from,” said Karkaby, whose Arab origins soon became clear in face-to-face interviews.
Only one in five of Israeli Arabs with a computer science degree works in the field, and a new government program is trying to change that. As part of a push to add 300,000 jobs in the Israeli Arab sector by 2020, the Ministry of Economy has budgeted more than 40 million shekels ($10.5 million) over the next three years to integrate one of the country’s fastest-growing populations into its most promising industry.
Israeli Arabs face a series of handicaps when chasing the kinds of jobs Karkaby found first at Comverse, a maker of telecommunications business technology, and then at Galil Software, established to bring Arabs into the tech industry. Because most are exempt from the draft, they don’t belong to the inner circle of veterans of elite military technology units and are unknown to recruiters. Some Israeli Arabs say they suffer from discrimination. A further burden is that most technology jobs are in the Tel Aviv area, a 90-minute drive from the north, where the majority of Israeli Arabs live.
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