A Day at the Omer Industrial Park

Written by on May 11, 2015 in

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The new Advanced Technology Park in Be’er Sheva has rightfully got a lot of publicity. It is destined to be the cyber-center of Israel and the world.  But, while the ATP is occupied by serious hi-tech companies like Ness, EMC, and RAD, the Omer Industrial Park – located just 5 minutes North of Be’er Sheva – houses a  diverse array of companies – with a surprising number of possibilities  for English-speakers. Last week, I went to check it out for myself…

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Of course, Omer has its share of hi-tech start-ups too. My first stop was at iDSCREEN, a subsidiary of NantMobile. iDSCREEN is an ad tracking platform that identifies any commercial within seconds of it airing on TV. Since they are tracking commercials in the US, UK, France, and Spain, it is essential that their employees (who watch a lot of TV!) speak at least one of the languages fluently.

Kevin Kezurer, an Oleh from South Africa, is a manager at iDSCREEN who “davka” travels everyday from his home in Ranana to his workplace in Omer. When I explain to him that Olim think there are no jobs in the South, his immediate response is “Lehefech, the opposite! All of the infrastructure is here – a great hospital, university, hi-tech – people are starting to invest more and more in the South.”

Exactly a year ago, Aly Hascolovici (59) who lives in the Southern yishuv of Even Shmuel, interviewed for a job at iDSCREEN that was posted through Nefesh B’Nefesh. Aly is grateful for the work she found in Omer: “I love it there.  It is a warm and friendly organization.  I have an extremely flexible schedule, that allows me to work from home a large portion of the time, and when I do come in to the office, I work my hours at my convenience.  The team I work with is made up mostly of young university students – they are vibrant, creative and a pleasure to work with.  My multi-lingual skills are coming in very handy for this project.”

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After my visit to the open space offices of iDSCREEN, I headed upstairs to the very formal offices of Luzatto Luzatto, one of the largest patent attorneys firms in Israel. Entering the large office reminds me of my childhood visiting my dad’s large New Jersey firm with huge wooden bookshelves and legal briefs piled high on the desks. Eli Cohen, the firm’s CFO, explains to me that since they have multi-national clients, all of their paperwork is done in English and therefore it is essential that all of their employees have very high-level English.

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After Luzatto, I move over to a totally different environment.  UET is an Israeli engineering and manufacturing company which designs systems for the treatment of water without chemical additives. I am not sure if I am in an office or a factory and it turns out that I am in both. Down below, workers are actually constructing water purification systems to be shipped abroad. Up above – overlooking these workers – are the employees who are designing, marketing, and selling these systems. One of these employees is Barry Rubin (48) who made Aliyah to Be’er Sheva just 8 months ago from Kansas City. Barry made aliyah to Be’er Sheva in August 2014 and did his 5 months of Ulpan. In January, a friend from the Start-up Centre sent me a job description that a friend of her saw posted in Drushim for a marketing position in UET. Barry had just been in our office the day before so I forwarded the job onto him right away. He landed the position that week.

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Barry and I head over to eat lunch in the park’s cafeteria. We fill up at a  wedding style buffet, just beating the lines of employees coming to eat from the Vishay plant. On the way back to his office, Barry points out a huge company that manufactures sapphire called “Gavish,” owned by a one-time Brooklyn Jew, that houses a Beit Knesset and Beit Midrash, used by employees from throughout the park.

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After lunch, I head over for my last stop to visit Alana Tenzer (26) who works at Geo-Teva, a leading environmental consultancy that specializes in environmental planning & development. Alana introduces me to her 6 co-workers who work on many different areas, including: infrastructure, energy, mining, tourism and industry. After officially making Aliyah in 2013 with the help of Nefesh B’Nefesh as part of its Go South program , Alana dove headfirst into the job search. At that time, the firm had an opening for a consultant, and Alana applied and was hired. It was the first and only job she applied for.

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Though all of the staff members have their own projects, everyone pitches in to help each other. The whole staff also always eats lunch together. One person first heads to the kitchen to make a salad and then everyone gathers together to eat the salad along with the food they brought.

After lunch, I was back in my Be’er Sheva office within 10 minutes, excited for these Southern Olim who have found meaningful employment so close to home and hopeful for others to follow in their footsteps…

 

 

 

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