Israel’s Mellanox Hires Gazan Programmers

Published in Virtual Jerusalem on June 20, 2016.
After successfully employing Palestinian high-tech teams from the West Bank, Israeli big-data connectivity company Mellanox Technologies Ltd. (Nasdaq:MLNX) is now hiring programmers from the Gaza strip.

Mellanox CEO Eyal Waldman told Reuters, “From our experience in Ramallah, we think we have the potential to collaborate and make our neighbors successful.”

Mellanox already employs many Arab programmers in Israel itself and dozens more in the West Bank cities of Ramallah and Nablus.

Palestinian software firm ASAL Technologies, which makes products that connect databases, servers and computers has hired four programmers in Gaza, reports “Reuters” and plans to add at least six more in the next six months.

A senior programmer in Gaza told “Reuters” that about 5,000 people from the territory work in software while a study encompassing 1,061 new engineering graduates in Gaza found an unemployment rate of 36%.

Israeli companies such as Amdocs Ltd. (NYSE: DOX) have hired employees in India but Waldman told “Reuters” that Palestinians have the same skills and they are in the same time zone.

“Reuters” added that “Mellanox said it was not aware of other Israeli tech company employing Gazans. Economic cooperation between Israel and Gaza is mostly limited to merchants importing goods, including agricultural products, cement and petrol.”

“But Mellanox’s Waldman thinks the obstacles can be overcome. The travel ban can be circumvented through audio and video conferencing, for example. He also thinks the results will be worth the effort.”

“This will bring both peoples closer,” Waldman said. “The more we interact, the more we strive for co-existence.”

Karin Mayer Rubinstein, head of Israel Advanced Technology Industries (IATI), told “Reuters” that she welcomed Waldman’s initiative. “I hope it will serve as an example for other companies to follow,” she said, noting that Waldman was a leader in Israel’s high-tech sector and someone others tend to follow.

Mellanox already stands out for having a workforce in Israel that’s almost 10% Arab and it employs 68 people in the West Bank as part of the joint project with ASAL that has been running for four years.

Waldman added, “In Palestine, they will learn, and in five to 10 years they will start their own companies.”

Published in Virtual Jerusalem on June 20, 2016.