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High-tech bridges Israeli, Palestinian economies

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Monday, April 11th, 2011

As reported in IVC: Companies see the advantage of working together.

Peace and an end to the exhausting Israeli-Palestinian conflict may be facilitated by the business sector, possibly because business interests trump political stubbornness and tensions. “Bloomberg” cites a report by international disaster relief NGO Mercy Corps as saying that 32% of Palestinian technology companies cooperate with Israeli companies through sales and outsourcing agreements.
“Bloomberg” reports that Mellanox Technologies Ltd. (Nasdaq:MLNX; TASE:MLNX) has picked the West Bank for a new software design center.

“Bloomberg” says, “Israeli companies are following Intel Corporation (Nasdaq: INTC) and Cisco Systems Inc. (Nasdaq: CSCO), which have been outsourcing to Palestinian companies, including Asal Technologies Ltd. and Exalt Technologies Ltd. for more than a decade.”

Mellanox chairman and CEO Eyal Waldman told “Bloomberg,” “Israelis and Palestinians are in the same time zone and are pretty similar culturally.” He chose the Ramallah after considering India and China, because of lower costs and the proximity to the Mellanox headquarters in Yokne’am Ilit.

Israeli and Palestinian executives say building up private industry is critical for further economic growth and peace in the region.

Fanzilla, a social-networking software company that develops corporate Facebook fan pages, recently hired two West Bank software developers for its team. One is already a team leader and both are developing new features.

“Bloomberg cites an IMF report as saying that the Palestinian technology sector has grown to 250 companies employing 5,800 people in the past five years. That helped the West Bank economy expand about 8% last year, from 7.2% in 2009.