In a nation often riddled with conflict and complex disputes, Nokia Israel has established a successful platform for Israelis and Palestinians to join forces and do business with fruitful results.
Nokia Israel CEO Aric Tal is passionate about sharing his company's bridge-for-peace model and he believes it can work in other industries across Israel – and globally.
Known historically for mobile phone sales, today Nokia Israel is the primary telecommunications infrastructure provider in Israel, the West Bank and Gaza, building advanced technologies, including 5G, fiber optics and other types of networks. Nokia’s Ramallah branch currently employs about 70 Palestinian software developers and research and development engineers.
“Every year many Palestinians are finishing university. They are seeking work in the IT industry and we need the manpower. It’s a win-win,” said Tal. “It’s cost effective for Nokia because we are able to get smart people with great talent at less cost.”
Tal also explained that hiring in Ramallah boosts the economy in Palestinian Authority, where the population has historically been under-represented in the high-tech sector.
Some benefits of the co-existence model include:
The importance of the cultural exchange and getting to know one another, with the objective to learn and respect differences
Sitting together and exchanging ideas to find solutions, breaking down barriers by working on a shared project
Learning how to "leave politics at the door" by avoiding the downside of diverse national and political opinions
“We have a rule: no politics,“ Tal said.
"People want to grow and develop and we cannot do it without working together. We don’t feel any tension, any political issue. I think if you concentrate on business and you leave politics aside, this is the best thing. And when you leave politics out of it, people see that they really like each other. We have a lot of challenges in the work that we do, so mostly we focus on that.”
Tal attended the White House-led Peace to Prosperity Summit in 2020 and is even more confident about potential collaborations because of the Abraham Accords normalization agreements.
He discussed best ways to lay the groundwork for further cooperation locally and in the Gulf region.
Tune in to this fascinating interview to learn how a company can use this game-changing co-existence model in their industries, investment opportunities in Israeli and Palestinian start-up companies, plus how to accommodate a dispersed workforce due to coronavirus pandemic.
Watch the full interview below.
The All Israel News Staff is a team of journalists in Israel.