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Israelis Develop "Business for Peace" Projects with Palestinians

Ben Gurion University of the Negev invites researchers to submit proposals for its "Business for Peace" competition to support the Palestinian economy, writes Shlomi Eldar.
Aviram Yaacov, computer systems coordinator at Ben Gurion University's security department, uses BriefCam's video synopsis programme at the university in the southern city of Beersheba January 16, 2011. As the world becomes increasingly saturated with closed circuit television (CCTV) cameras, security experts say offenders can easily slip away simply because no one had the time to find the incriminating footage. Israeli company BriefCam hopes to change that with a new computer programme, called video synops
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It seems like a simple idea: economic cooperation serving as an impetus for peace between Israelis and Palestinians. It was with this in mind that Ben Gurion University launched its “Business for Peace” competition last year. Students and faculty from all of Israel’s academic institutions were invited to submit “groundbreaking” proposals, which would help to develop the Palestinian economy and promote cooperation between the Israelis and the Palestinians.

The competition ended last week, and the winners were announced. The first prize ($20,000) was taken by Dor Leitman and Sagi Bernstein, who developed a concept based on “outsourcing between Israel and the Palestinian Authority.” The two men, who study software engineering at Ben Gurion University, submitted a proposal to create an employment bridge between Israel’s high-tech industry, which is starved for workers, and Palestinian software engineers in the Territories, who are starved for work. “In my opinion, the implications of our project are far more significant than the economic benefits that both sides will enjoy,” said Leitman upon winning.

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