Acknowledging discrimination -- the first step


By Anonymous
January 24, 2010
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Peres acknowledges discrimination in employment of Arabs

President holds tour of Nazareth with senior economy elements aimed at encouraging investment, employment in hi-tech within Arab sector

Sharon Roffe-Ofir

"There isn't intentional discrimination, but the reality is one of discrimination," President Shimon Peres said Tuesday during a tour with senior economy figures in Nazareth for the purpose of encouraging investment and employment in hi-tech within the Arab sector.

Participating in the tour were IDB CEO Nochi Dankner, Discount Bank chairman Yossi Bachar and Osem board chairman Dan Propper. The tour was held in collaboration with Maala, an organization promoting social responsibility in business, during which the president and the businessmen became familiar with the local hi-tech companies and the employee potential.

"We recruited government and business forces," Peres said and added, "It's a national mission to maintain an equal integration of Arab-Israelis in the quality workforce in Israel. All of the economy heads which have arrived on the bus with me are committing themselves to the task and I am sure we will reach concrete arrangements which will expand the employment of Arab academics in the hi-tech profession," Peres said.

The first to offer collaboration was the CA software company which has pledged to employ 30 engineers from the Arab sector.

"We came today to review the situation and see what could be done," Microsoft Israel CEO Danny Yamin, who also attended the tour, said.
'Cultivating frustrated generation'

"We are cultivating another talented, educated, frustrated and bitter generation," said attorney Irit Tamir, chairwoman of the Kav Mashve organization, an employers' coalition for equality for Arab university graduates. "The chances of an Arab academic to be accepted for a job are five times lower than that of a Jewish academic with the same qualifications."

Tamir stated that a study conducted by the Van Leer institute on the matter revealed some alarming data.

"Despite their (Arabs) being 20% out of the Israeli population, the employment rate stands at a maximum of 4% in hi-tech and far less in the other fields.

"There are some 15,000 unemployed or inappropriately employed academics and they are joined by 3,000 more every year."

Momo Mahadav, Maala's chairman addressed the economy's company heads and asked that they "act consistently and resolutely to set internal goals for the promotion of egalitarian and multi-cultural employment and financial development within the Arab population."

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