In an effort to lessen unemployment rates, Cisco Systems is creating 12,000 high-tech jobs and targeting Israeli Arabs for these positions.
CEO and Chairman John Chambers announced the company's campaign on June 20 at a conference sponsored by Israeli president Shimon Peres. Chambers said Cisco and other companies will offer these jobs over the course of four years to the 8 million Arabs who are Israeli citizens.
The project is not without a political agenda, however, as it attempts to close the economic gaps between Israel's Arabs and Jews by expanding the high-tech program Maantech. Recent studies have shown that Israeli Arabs tend to be poorer, less educated and discriminated against in terms of jobs and housing. Prior to Maantech, which was developed in February 2011, less than half a percent of employees at Israel's high-tech companies were Arabs.
With Israel now serving as a true technology center and leader, its high-tech companies are becoming more respected and successful. The employees of these companies receive paychecks which are well above average. Maantech hopes to even the playing field between Israelis and Arabs by providing Arabs with more of these higher-wage positions.
"We have an opportunity to show the rest of the world what we can do together with a government that really gets it and with citizens who really get it," Chambers said. "If we can move to 12,000 [new employees] within four years, it would be an indication of what's possible."
With more than 22 employers joining Maantech, including Google, Intel and IBM, almost 330 Israeli Arabs have been brought on board at tech companies.
"No government or policy could do it. You need the companies," Peres said, firmly stating that corporations and business tactics could play large roles in fighting racism in Israel. "This is the way to pave to peace."
Danielle Chazen is a regular contributor to Jspace's technology division. Danielle is a freelance reporter and technology event coordinator with a degree in journalism from the University of Maryland.