High Tech Development in Kafr Qasim and the southern Triangl...
High Tech Development in Kafr Qasim and the southern Triangle
A new project aimed to enhance the integration of Arab citizens into Israel's high tech sector was recently launched in the Arab city of Kafr Qasim, located in the Southern Triangle area – an area in central Israel which includes several large Arab localities and over 120,000 Arab citizens. Despite its proximity to Tel Aviv, Israel's business and financial center, the area suffers from a high rate of unemployment, underdeveloped infrastructure and relatively high rate of poverty.
The first phase of this project included the opening of TRI/O Tech – a hi-tech center, which will include an entrepreneurship school and an accelerator. This Tech Center is part of Kafr Qasim's efforts to bring high-tech companies to its industrial zone (Lev Ha'aretz), while encouraging more Arab citizens of Israel to become a part of Israel's booming hi-tech sector. It is a joint initiative of the city's municipality, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) Enterprise Forum and Tsofen – a Jewish-Arab NGO promoting the integration of Israel’s Arab Citizens into its hi-tech industry through employment and the creation of hi-tech centers in Arab towns.
This 4.5 million NIS Tech Center, which was funded by the U.S. government (MEPI -Middle East Programs Initiative), is a part of a wider project, estimated at a total cost of around NIS 6 million. When completed, the project will also include a training center for young Arab professionals. As part of the project, and in order to maximize its success, Tsofen and INJAZ – an Arab NGO that promotes professional Arab local governance – are working together with Kafr Qasim municipality and the Ministry for Social Equality in Israel to advance the overall area and make it more accessible and suitable for the high-tech sector. In its entirety, the Project is also supported by private philanthropies, mainly the Guilford & Diane Glazer Foundation.
In the February 10th TRI/O launching ceremony participated, among others, Mayor of Kafr Qasim, Mr. Adel Badir; US Ambassador to Israel, Dan Shapiro; MIT Forum Chairman, Mr. Ed Mlavsky; Dr. Ramzi Halabi, Tsofen Chairman; and Israeli entrepreneurs Hans Shakur, Sefi Glazer and Yossi Vardi.