Israel’s tech ecosystem calls for reconciliation between the country’s Jewish and Arab citizens
“We have to learn to live with each other. We have to meet and become friends and see a common future together, and then create a working relationship,” said Mellanox founder Eyal Waldman.
Elihay Vidal6.30 p.m.16.05.21
Israeli citizens have fought on two fronts over the past week: one is closely covered by international and military media, against Hamas threats in Gaza. But the second, local front is waged with extraordinary violence within the country’s borders, between the Jewish and Arab citizens who make up Israeli society. At the center of these violent local clashes are the mixed towns of Lod, Jaffa, Ramle, Acre and Haifa – in which Arabs and Jews have lived peacefully side by side for many decades.
Violent and extreme groups on both sides are agitated, using real weapons and deadly weapons like Molotov cocktails, disrupting the flow of daily life and causing incitement and hatred towards each other. Violence and fear have also made their way to social media in Israel, with battles waged to delegitimize the inclusion of Arab Israelis in the economy. Additionally, Arab citizens are protesting years of continued neglect by Israeli governments, discrimination in religious freedom, and attempts by the religious Jewish right in Israel to exclude them from neighborhoods and cities.
Many large Israeli companies and organizations, including the Clalist HMO (pictured) are campaigning to promote coexistence between Arabs and Jews. Photo: courtesy
But alongside the growing violence, many groups of businessmen and notable figures in the Israeli economy are calling for reconciliation between Jews and Arabs in an attempt to stop the cycle of hatred. A group of key figures from the Israeli tech scene has also mobilized alongside leading companies such as Bank Hapoalim, Fox Group, Tnuva, Shufersal, Osem, HOT, Livnat Poran, Strauss, BE and Maccabi.
Eyal Waldman, the founder of Mellanox which was sold to Nvidia for $ 7 billion, is one of those figures who openly expresses his support for the coexistence between the two. While still CEO of the company, he launched an initiative to employ Arab workers, including from Nablus, Rawabi, Hebron and Gaza – 300 Arab Israelis in all and some 150 Palestinians. Waldman told Calcalist he believes that although it is a trying time for Arab-Jewish relations in Israel due to the riots and fighting in Gaza, times have been more difficult.
“I am sure we will be able to rebuild the bridges. We have been through worse situations than this. We have to learn to live side by side. We have to meet and become friends and see together a common future, then create also working relations. We must create proximity between the two peoples. ”
A group of dozens of executives of tech companies, venture capital funds and Israeli startups in recent days signed a petition calling for the protection of the ideals of equality regardless of religion, ethinicity, gender or sexual orientation and equal opportunities and equal treatment under law in order to strengthen the State of Israel and make it an exemplary society. This group, named Power in Diversity, includes among others, Kobi Samboursky of Glilot Capital, Sivan Shamri Dahan of Qumra Capital, Isaac Hillel of Pitango, Ruthi Simha Furman of Viola and technology companies like Minute Media, Elementor, Gong, Illusive, Cybereason , Bizzabo and many others.
The petition reads: “We, the undersigned members of the high-tech community, reaffirm our commitment to building a country where everyone, regardless of religion, ethnicity, gender or sexual orientation, benefits from equality of opportunity and equal treatment before the law. , respect for their political leaders and neighbors, and the freedom to go anywhere without fear of abuse or violence. We are committed to working with anyone from any community to make this country the light it can and should be for the nations, ”the initiative said.
“These days Israeli society is being tested and we are on the brink. We have two options before us: accept that we are a diverse society and rejoice in the beauty of that diversity, or continue to demonize those who are different. and fall into hatred and violence. It is easy in these times to lose hope and wallow in despair. But, as the song says, “we don’t have another country.” We have no choice but to see these times as an opportunity for change – for the “silent majority” to disrupt the status quo, take over the agenda of extremes in our society. ”