Tsofen, recipient of the Speaker of Knesset’s 2015 Quality of Life Prize for Promoting Mutual Understanding between Jews and Arabs, is a non-profit organization founded in 2008 by Arab and Jewish hi-tech and civil society leaders. Tsofen facilitates the integration of Arab citizens into hi-tech firms and the expansion of hi-tech in Arab towns. Over the past nine years, in Nazareth and now in Kafr Qasim, we have refined and implemented a programmatic model that includes candidate recruitment, training, and placement, and collaboration with corporate and government leaders. Tsofen works closely with companies operating in Arab cities or considering opening branches there to reduce their risk and connect them with relevant stakeholders.
Tsofen aims to dramatically increase the participation of Arab engineers in the hi-tech industry, and to leverage this growth to advance the economic sustainability of Arab citizens of Israel, thus enhancing Israel’s overall socio-economic wellbeing and creating a more just society.
- In 2008, Israeli hi-tech employed 350 Arab engineers. At present, 4,500 Arabs work in the industry.
- Since 2008, Tsofen has placed over 1,200 candidates in hi-tech positions (30% of all new Arab engineers).
- In 2008, 35 engineers were employed in Nazareth. At present, the city is home to over 1,000 engineers, 25% of whom are women (above the national average for hi-tech).
- Tsofen facilitated the entrance of several major hi-tech companies into Nazareth, including Microsoft, Broadcom, and Amdocs.
- We have completed 34 hi-tech training courses with close to 700 graduates, 78% of whom were placed in hi-tech positions within six months.
- In 2014, Israel’s Ministry of Economy adopted Tsofen’s programmatic model as the basis for a 3-year tender designed to increase the number of Arab graduates employed in hi-tech.
- Council of Higher Education data reveals that the number of Arabs studying hi-tech subjects in Israel’s universities increased by 55% between 2012 and 2015.
- Less than a year after its launch, Lessons in Hi-Tech, our new high school program designed to increase the number of Arab students in hi-tech majors in Israel’s universities, was included in the Ministry of Education’s informal education portfolio.