Collaborative Israeli-Palestinian NGO Unites Youthful Entrepreneurs

In spite of the pandemic, Tech2Peace has persisted with a program that aims to forge permanent business partnerships.

A global pandemic has not succeeded in stopping an initiative whose objective is to unite youthful Israeli and Palestinian tech fans and entrepreneurs.

Tech2Peace, a collaborative Israeli-Palestinian NGO is pushing on with strategies to increase its comprehensive tech seminars by twice their size in 2021.

Regardless of the health limitations and lockdowns, in the last one year 60 individuals participated in the company’s program. It offers participants useful tech skills and also fosters harmony through discussions.

Tech2Peace co-founder and co-executive director, 28-year-old Tomer Cohen, terms it ‘an extremely odd combination of top-notch tech seminars and discussions.’ 

Most of it involves high-tech,’ Cohen informed The Media Line.’ Each participant picks his/her field. It may be mobile app development, programming, etc.; the rest of the time is allocated to discussions.’

After their first seminar in 2018 in Yeruham, a town in southern Israel, the initiative was awarded the Israeli Hope prize. President Reuven Rivlin of Israel started this award, which is worth NIS 10,000 ($3,100). Through the years, tech giants such as Microsoft and Google have joined forces with Tech2Peace to assist in the provision of superior technical training.

Tech2Peace’s comprehensive seminars involve any kind of subject for the participants from Israeli and Palestine.

‘They start interacting as friends and we commence discussions about harrowing occurrences: about Israel’s Independence Day (Nakba), checkpoints, the Holocaust, and all other elements,’ explained Cohen.

Most of the participants are meeting the ‘other side’ for the first time,’ he also said.

Although those societies live in very close proximity to one another, they are very separated,’ remarked Cohen. He also noted that the program inspires permanent business partnerships.

There are all kinds of participants; religious, secular, major cities and refugee camps. So far, over 150 individuals have completed the program and of late demand has risen significantly. The COVID-19 pandemic, which stalled very many educational programs worldwide, did not dampen Tech2Peace’s spirits, noted Cohen. Organizers began hosting seminars outdoors to adhere to health rules and maintain social distancing.

‘In spite of the coronavirus, we continue growing very fast,’ he stated. 25-year-old Adnan Jaber is among the ones who graduated successfully from the program. Jaber was raised in east Jerusalem and referred to the experience as ‘exceptional. He said that he was motivated to register during his final year while studying at the Arab American University, situated in Jenin, a city in Palestine.

I was studying tech and my wish was to work in Tel Aviv.’ Jaber informed The Media Line. He is currently a Tech2Peace board member.

‘My wish was to enhance my tech skills; also, being from Jerusalem made me have this desire to become familiar with the other side.’

From that time, Jaber has also started his startup: ‘Yalla Reyada’ a smartphone application, whose objective is to assist people to realize their fitness objectives.

‘I refer to myself as a social entrepreneur. I adore sports.’ he stated.

‘If we want to improve this area’s future for Palestinians and Israelis, I believe joint business is essential. It is a method that makes people have good relationships and establish more trust between them.’

Tech2Peace wishes to unite Palestinian and Israeli youth; however, the NGO does not claim to offer a resolution to the fight. 

Instead, the objective is to implement a robust and permanent tech community; its leaders pray that in future it will develop tremendously.

Co-founder, Tomer Cohen said, ‘In five to ten years, one of them will become mayor of a Palestinian or Israeli town, and it will create a significant change because our target is those extremely skilled leaders.

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