from the August 2013 issue

Inside the secret tech ventures that are reshaping the Israeli-Arab-Palestinian world

Palestinian engineers Achmed Badir and Jafar Hajear of Ramallah-based Exalt Technologies meet with their Israeli teammates at Cisco near Tel Aviv, Oz Ben-Rephael and Michal Cohen. Exalt provides R&D outsourcing to Cisco. Says Ben-Rephael: "I think it is amazing that we can overcome the distance. We just needed that common target." Adds Badir: "There was a lot of curiosity by both sides.

Even by Middle East standards, the scene in a Dead Sea restaurant, situated within a "green zone"-a no-man's-land claimed by neither Israelis nor Palestinians-was surreal. As a camel knelt outside, two Israeli soldiers nonchalantly sipped coffee at the counter and a score of rabbis said a prayer before their communal lunch-all oblivious to a dozen history-making Palestinians and Israelis huddled together in the back room.

"So the safety guard should be put at the whole project rather than the task," said a Palestinian. "Exactly," answered an Israeli Jew, who added: "Also, should the buffer be hidden or public? What do you think?" A second Palestinian spoke up: "Who's gonna hide it?" The room broke into laughter. Yet another Palestinian, oblivious to an abstract painting of the Star of David behind him, asked: "Do you want the truth, or do you want the truth plus protection?"

Reprinted from the Israel High-Tech & Investment Report August 2013

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