a different side of Israel

Tag: Technology

Internet Justice Rewarded To Israeli Tech Master Mind

RefuahYou know when you surf the Web using your trusty Web 2.0 browser, Mozilla Firefox or Internet Explorer, or whatever it is that you use; and you navigate your way around, by typing in the HTML address of the website, which you would like to visit? Not many know this, but the software which provides the address bar, was invented by an 18 year old Israeli, named Aviv Refuah. All of the Internet giants have been using this software to create their programs for the least ten years. Now, they just may have to start paying up, because the patenting license submitted by an 18 year old Refuah, has just been approved!

While neither Aviv, nor the 55 employees of his company, Netex, have received a penny in licensing proceeds, so far; the value of the company’s stock jumped 144% on the Tel Aviv Stock Exchange.

The 18 year old Refuah submitted his brain child for patenting and really changed the face of web browsing, then went and joined the Israeli Army. Now 10 years later, the 28 year old Israeli is the CEO of a company that is worth $20,000,000. Currently the employees at Netex are working on an idea called, Springo is designed to make web browsing faster and easier, by providing instant links for the hottest social networking, online shopping, news, maps and email sites. The site’s ‘header’ reads: Springo beta/Shortcutting the Web.

We will look to Refuah as an example of Internet justice, now that his U.S. patent has been rightfully claimed. And we will look to Netex as a future spring board of big ideas; and a juicy baby tech company, undoubtedly causing the big corporations to lick their chops.

The Biodegradable Plastic Bottle

It’s time for another installment of “Israel Invents Something Cool That the World Will Definitely Need.” This week’s feature is the biodegradable plastic bottle made out of corn starch. Most plastics are made from an oil base, which makes the molecules artificial and non-disintegrating, so then you need the mafia to recycle them and it doesn’t get pretty. Plastic made out of corn starch, once buried, gets eaten by bacteria and the nutrients redispersed into the earth once again. No need to recycle, assuming you dispose of it properly.

Plastic BottlesComing out of a manufacturing company based in Kibbutz Ashdot Yakov the Israeli version is believed to be the world’s first to produce disintegrating bottles with disintegrating labels as well.

The bottles are scheduled to be distributed to guests of next week’s Plasto Ispak plastics exhibition at the Israel Trade Fairs and Convention Center in Tel Aviv, a batch of the first 5,000.

The bottles, if placed in compost, disintegrate totally within 90 days. The only problem is, most Israelis don’t take their organic trash to a composting facility or bury it in the backyard. As a result, marketing will begin on a small scale. “There’s no point in flooding the market when anyway it won’t decompose since most Israelis still don’t compost their waste in the house or yard,” said Eco Joe Chairman Avner Inbar:

“We hope that Israel will start pushing advanced waste treatment methods which are more environmentally safe. Then we will be able to widely market the bottle.”

Interested in “Anglo Jobs”? Only ‘Night Birds’ Need Apply

By Maurice Picow

Looking for an English speaking job in Israel? Then be prepared for night shifts, as most of these jobs are out-sourced, and dealing with clientele in North America. Advertisements in English language newspapers such as The Jerusalem Post, Haaretz (English translation), as well as in Israemploy and similar job web sites catering to English speakers, regularly post sales and customer service positions requiring ‘mother tongue’ English speakers. To those who are recent arrivals to Israel, such as ones who arrived on the well publicized Nefesh b’Nefesh aliyah flights, look for these positions due to not having a good enough level of Hebrew; or virtually no Hebrew at all.

What they eventually find out, is that these jobs entail working evening and even night shifts in order to coordinate their work hours with those in North America, ranging from -7 hours for the U.S. East Coast, to -10 hours for states like California, Oregon, and Washington. Though some of these positions, pay fairly well (including increased pay for working ‘grave yard’ shift hours), other positions pay little more than minimum wage, with the rest expected to be made up by commissions earned on closed sales. Two often advertised companys, DSNR and IDT Global, continuously recruit employees willing to work these topsy-turvy hours, or are able to hold up under a highly stressful work environment.

IDT Global, working under an American call center type of environment, being owned by a parent American based company, IDT Communications Co. Inc, is probably one of the best choices for the English speaking job candidate, if you don’t mind the late hours. They handle customer service calls for U.S. based companies such as American on Line (AOL), and have other positions that include working with people living in the United Kingdom as well. Though their main center is based in Jerusalem, they are now in the process of opening and expanding offices in other locations, including Tel Aviv and Beer Sheva.

Outsourcing is becoming a very common business in Israel; a country which has a large number of foreign language speakers, including European and Latin American languages as well. Though India has far more people employed in outsourced positions, they cannot provide the quality of the spoken English that is found in Israel, despite its small size. The number of available personnel with a high level of spoken English, includes many Israelis whose parents came originally from English speaking countries. Many of these workers are young and willing to fill these kind of work shifts. High tech companies in North America, as well as Israel based ones dealing mainly with the North American market, often avail themselves to this labor pool to staff their ‘help desks’ and other needed customer service positions.

For those who qualify for technical writing and marketing communication positions (known as MARCOM) the work hours can be more palatable as these writing jobs do not require regular contact with foreign clientele. These positions are very much in demand by companies p r o v i d i n g that the job candidates have two or more years of proven work experience. It’s not enough to complete a technical writing course, costing thousands of Shekels. Without that work experience, getting hired afterwards is no easy chore, and one has to be either very talented or extremely creative to come on board. Freelance and similar positions can help one get the needed experience; but how does one support him or herself in the interim?

Persistence and perseverance will eventually pay off in landing a suitable position. But one must be flexible and willing to ‘burn the midnight oil’ if need be.

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