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Friday, December 17, 2010

Israel outsourcing computer work to Palestinian Arabs

From AP:
Within the pastel walls of a modest suburban office, Israeli high-tech workers have accomplished a feat that still eludes their political leaders: They have created a partnership with the Palestinians.

Israeli-Palestinian peace talks may be stalled, but that hasn't stopped a small but steady trickle of Israeli technology companies from seeking to work with people on the other side of the decades-old conflict.

Israeli CEOs say it's their way of bringing a little bit of peace to their troubled corner of the world. But the real reason they're hiring Palestinians, they acknowledge, is because it simply makes good business sense.

"The cultural gap is much smaller than we would think," said Gai Anbar, chief executive of Comply, an Israeli start-up in this central Israeli town that develops software for global pharmaceutical companies like Merck and Teva.

At a previous job, he worked with engineers in India and eastern Europe, but found communication difficult. So in 2007, when he was looking to outsource work at his new start-up, he turned to Palestinian engineers. He said they speak like Israelis do -- they are direct and uninhibited. Today, Comply employs four Palestinians.

Palestinian engineers have also warmed up to the idea. "I doubt you would find a company who says, 'I am closed for business'" to Israelis, said Ala Alaeddin, chairman of the Palestinian Information Technology Association.
So when is the BDS movement going to protest this?