#tomorrow12: Shimon Peres project for Israeli-Arab integration into hi tech.

In this week’s episode of That’s! So! Shimon! I am pleased to present a new initiative of Israel’s President Shimon Peres and Cisco Systems CEO John Chambers “which promotes the integration of Arab academics into the Israeli hi-tech industry through a coalition of leading hi-tech companies and NGOs in Israel.”

The project is called Ma’antech, and they are announcing its expansion today at the Israel Presidents Conference.

Our mission is to launch the natural integration of Arab employees into the Israeli high tech industry by supporting both candidates and employers throughout the entire recruitment process.

Over 22 Israel-based and Israeli companies have already gotten involved. Many of them aren’t shockers (and good for them as international entities). Some examples include Cisco, Google, Microsoft, IBM, Intel, HP, Checkpoint, Amdocs, LivePerson… and more:

Of course, other companies are welcome to join the initiative with Ma’antech.

A few words from President Peres:

“Everybody is asking about my age. Whats the secret? Everyone can be as young as his dreams. Look at the future.”

Other Tomorrow 2012 coverage: 

Israeli Consulate hosting a Twitter Q&A session.

And now, for something new and different.

So… here in Israel, we are more computers than people. And I know I was a bit snobbish when I wrote about the Israeli elections campaigns using internet tech and themes from their American counterparts. But this actually tops all that for real:

The Israeli Consulate has its own Twitter account and will be fielding Q&A today from 1pm-3pm Eastern Standard Time. The consulate also has two blogs, Israel Politik and IsRealli, as well as a Facebook page, a YouTube channel, and MySpace profile.

I suppose it’s logical; Israel is a country that needs more PR than most others. But it might also be nice to have seen the American government hold Q&A sessions on Twitter or sending down-to-earth updates on blog posts or YouTube videos.

Anyway, if you want to know more about the Twitter event, here’s the consulate’s blog post about it:

Tomorrow, 30 December, from 1-3PM EST,  David Saranga, Consul of Media and Public Affairs in New York, will answer your questions about the situation in Israel and Gaza in a “Citizens’ Press Conference.”

You can submit your question by directing it to our Twitter account at http://www.twitter.com/IsraelConsulate . We will do our best to answer through Twitter.  If an answer requires more than the 140 character limit, we will respond on Twitter with a link to an answer posted in this blog.

We hope you will be able to join us–tell your friends!!

I hope it turns out worthwhile.

A little late, but a lizrael update.

Haven’t done this in a while, but here goes.

Aliyah

At this point, I’ve been living in Israel for three and a half years. Seems like so much longer… I can now count ‘old friends’ I had when I first came, I have a lengthy list of apartments I’ve lived/crashed in, I’ve been married for nearly two years and traveled internationally with an Israeli travel document six times.

The reasons I stay in Israel are different from the reasons I originally came. When I landed here, I was a single post-graduate with a lot of different directions and vast openness. Since then, I’ve worked at a steady job for three years, which has opened me up to a career path I never would have expected for myself, but warmly welcome. I’ve married a non-American/non-Israeliborn from across the world, so it will never be easy to pick up and leave Israel for us; it’s not a matter of moving to an obvious place.

Also, I’ve invested so much into living here, mentally, and I’ve lost touch with reality in the States. I’ve gotten used to a lifestyle here that I couldn’t have back there with ‘only’ this much effort.

It’s not that I’m thinking of leaving Israel, but I really don’t think about it because it’s now, simply,  where I live, where I get my paycheck from, where I’ve started building my house and home.

School

I’m on the very last leg of my toar sheni, my graduate degree. Yeah, remember that goal I set out for myself three years ago? Conflict Management and Negotiation at Bar Ilan University.

I’m currently engaged in a required ‘internship’ which actually takes place at my job. I’m working on creating a dispute resolution program for an online social Q&A community. I like that it has nothing to do with international relations or politics (although sometimes it feels that way).

I’ve come to realize that being friends with the intertubes is the way to go if you’re going to live comfortabley in Israel. That being said especially as I’ve been told by professors that no one makes a living here off only doing gishur (mediation). Online Dispute Resolution is a curious path I’m looking forward to exploring in the coming years.

Which leads me to my work…

Work

By some interesting twist, three years ago I ended up working in the marketing department of an internet company and I’m still there, job having evolved over the years, but a rainbow of experience gained.

The job that was supposed to be my financial parent through grad school became a career path – who knew? In fact, I’d argue I’ve learned way more at the job than the university, even if the two subjects are completely unrelated.

I tell people now that if you are open, have mother-tongue English and some internet savvy in your pocket, hi tech is the way to go here in Israel. You don’t have to start your own start up, either. There are plenty of jobs right now and the business is flourishing. And because it’s based in Israel, and you speak mother-tongue English, you are a step ahead in gaining a new career that you can really leverage. Just be open to learning some code.

Family

As I said above, we’ve been married for nearly two years now; we have a Tu B’Av anniversary coming up. Marriage is everything and nothing like I thought it would be, in the best possible ways. And I know why that is; it’s because of who I married and how much we’ve both been open and proactive about making this work.

Of course, we’re at two years and no kids, so who are we to talk? There are challenges that crop up now and then, mainly concerning the issue of us both being from two different countries located on opposite ends of the planet. What if we left? Where would we go? Whose family do we visit next?

It is also difficult for both of us to be far from our families; neither of us have immediate family here and we do catch each other’s bouts of homesickness once in a while.

But there’s also the topic of extending our own family, which I’ve realized I wouldn’t want to start anywhere else but Israel. It’s a different life than how I grew up, but I think with lots more positive elements.

Tzur Hadassah made it to… Plurk?

Call me a geek, but I found this cool. I just signed up for a Plurk account (I’m still not sure what it all means) but when I was changing my settings and filling in my location, I clicked my country as ‘Israel’, than my region as ‘Yerushalayim’ and, ready to settle on that, I noticed… there was Zur Hadassah, on the list! Impressive, eh?

You know you're an Anglo-Israeli working in hi-tech when…

I just received a tweet from a friend:

“just heard terrible news…reeling from the shock. baruch dayan ha-emet”

And I immediately went to check my favorite news services to find out what happened. First I thought Ariel Sharon, then I thought Gilad Shalit. I scoured the Israeli news sources and then spread out wider to my international news sources, like a ripple effect.

It’s that mentality that the news is always alive, always happening and at any moment, anything can happen here in Israel… Mixed with the immediacy of the way we hi-tech geeks communicate and share… Mixed with my own morbidity, I suppose.

In the end, it turned out to be a personal thing. But those few minutes before I knew that… Those are the moments when I remember where and in what age I live in…

Tel Aviv might be hi-tech, but Jerusalem is Online.

Last night I spent a lovely evening at a hi-tech geek party, otherwise known as MashBash. I love it when my hi-tech self and my Israel self combine into one crazy combustication of awesomeness.

There are so many reasons I love these gatherings:

  • They are parties with a premise, so the drinking is casual, the conversation is lively and everyone is just about on the same level of awesomegeek; there’s pretty much one wavelength.
  • It’s a chance to network for business but also to meet Israelis and other immigrants.
  • And usually, the drinks are free.

Of course, the center of hi-tech in Israel – or at least, hi-tech parties – is Tel Aviv. Jerusalem does have a fair effort (like my company, among others) and it’s blogosphere can stand on its own. Bloggers usually meet at each other at parties or events and it’s always fun to see the face behind the URL.

So last night I met the owner of Jerusalem Online, which is

“the first video news update from Israel in English sent directly to your e-mail on a daily basis. This short, to-the-point, balanced update is brought to you by Israel’s leading television news source, Channel 2 News.”

It’s a great way for Jerusalem bloggers to keep Israeli news on their sites and a convenient tool for people outside of Israel to get direct news in English. You can get the video code by pressing “Get this” under the video and embed straight into your blog.

Like so many others, I’ve fallen deeply in love with the Israeli hi-tech scene, whether Jerusalem or Tel Aviv style. Next time I’m at one of these events, I’ll raise a glass (of free alcohol) to hi-tech, to the Israeli brain and to the wealth of the new-age Middle Eastern oil machine.

ICQ Toothpaste: Because you never know.

The Israeli hi tech world is alive and…  brushing.

Gizmodo posted that the Israeli software company that created ICQ, the instant messenger we all lost our virginity to, teamed up with an Israeli pharmaceutical company and together have created this bad boy of a Frankenstein:

ICQ Toothpaste

That’s right, ICQ toothpaste. Why, you inevitably ask?

The Israeli software company that developed the suite before it was purchased by AOL has just partnered with a big Israeli pharmacy company called CTS to release this ICQ toothpaste, which our tipster claims will “help P2P communication (person to person) while reducing bad breath.” (Gizmodo)

Only in Israel.