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Moona: ‘Raising Arab engineers’ into Israeli tech sector

CM 14/09/2021

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‘You grow when your neighbour grows” is the message on Moona’s website and the walls of its center in Arabic, Hebrew and English. This is the founding principle of the Israel-based NGO that eight years ago, was founded by former IDF combat pilot Asaf Brimer. Moona now works to integrate Arab-Israelis into the hi-tech industry.
What Brimer saw was an issue with the integration of Arab-Israelis into society in that many would not be involved in the Israeli economy. Brimer explains how he sees a healthy society as being one with social cohesion between different groups, “If you want to have opportunities for your children, you need all of society and the groups of society to be developed and connected to the country and the economy. Now everything is separated.”
Moona aims to address that through its key aims, which it explains are social mobility, preparation for advanced employment and the meeting of different groups in society.

 ISRAELI-ARAB and Jewish engineers work together at Moona’s center in the northern Arab town of Majd al-Krum. (credit: FADI HASHEM) ISRAELI-ARAB and Jewish engineers work together at Moona’s center in the northern Arab town of Majd al-Krum. (credit: FADI HASHEM)

Moona works with all ages with activities for school children, teenagers, students, employees and retirees. It preaches a message of representation, stressing the concept as key with children. “They cannot choose to be engineers if they have never met engineers,” Brimer explains. For him, if kids get to work with adults who have experience in the field who believe in those children then they can believe that they too can do it. People come to Moona from all groups in Israeli society and it caters for this providing its services to religious Muslims and Jews alike.
At the moment, Moona works mainly with Arab-Israelis, but Brimer explained his ambitions to work with Palestinians, including those in Gaza, and to take the NGO’s ambitions global. The model of Moona is one that Brimer believes can be applied the world round to aid coexistence. The organization now has several centers around the country; Moona started in the Arab village Majd al-Krum in the Galilee. Brimer is proud of this fact and aims to have centers around the world. Through the field of technology, many will be provided useful skills for employment, as well as everyday life.
Moona does not shy away from the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, either, aiming to help those involved. After the Operation Guardian of the Walls in May, Moona brought in psychologists to help their students manage the emotions associated with that and the riots that erupted around the country.
In a promotional video for Moona, Ephriam Dimintman, an Orthodox Jew, explained how when he first worked with Moona, he came unsure of what to expect and that he had waited in his car for a while before first going in. He explained how he is glad he took those steps to Moona.
Amit Palti, who works with Moona, explains that “the feeling is that we’re changing the world through what we are doing, and that is Moona.”

Source: Jerusalem Post

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