Israel is a bastion for the LGBT community, and not just the liberal attitudes that citizens of Israel’s urban centers have had towards a community that has been traditionally marginalized significantly in the Middle East and in many parts of the world. While the definition of what it means to be LGBT is changing in 2018 (as the spectrum of gender fluidity has become more mainstream and accepted) the underlying truth is that minority groups such as the LGBT community need to be brought into the mainstream conversation, not just to strengthen Israeli democracy, but to help build an inclusive tech ecosystem that rewards based on merit and performance, not on sexual identity. Inclusion and diversity are part of the Clearview Partners DNA, and we take a considerable amount of pride in sharing with you programs that create and nurture inclusive culture.
While Israel as a multi-party democracy suffers from the same fringe anti-democratic elements as any Western European country and has recently taken some steps back as far as legislation in the Knesset overall Israel has traditionally been a human rights haven for the LGBT community (including Palestinians seeking refuge). Such is the case that Big Tech, particularly Apple’s openly gay CEO Tim Cook felt the need to release a statement opposed to a piece of legislation in the Knesset. Apple is doing extensive research in Israel, and it is no secret their north Tel Aviv offices played a major part in the development of the latest iPhone. Also the IDF, the people’s army, has been a melting pot of integration for the diverse members of Israeli society, and this community is no different. Even before the most progressive US and European corporations started to offer coverage for sex changes the IDF allowed soldiers who deemed themselves transgender to undergo this surgery, covering the costs and treatments of this process. Aside from liberal attitudes, the IDF understands the needs of the generation that populates its ranks and the world we live in.
Investing in LGBT and diversity tech is not just good for returns, but also in strengthening the tech ecosystem. Community and civic organizations have played a major role in the LGBT community (as they have in the growth of tech ecosystems globally); the case of LBGTech is no different. “LGBTech is an organization of tech professionals dedicated to enriching a strong community for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and other awesome people”. LGBTech creates engaging programming for members to connect with each other and provides an important place for members of the community to share their perspectives.
Advocacy plays a major part in LBGTech’s mission and working with the major tech companies in Israel to make sure LGBT employees have the same rights as other tech workers do. This falls under the umbrella of helping forward the rights of the LGBT community, and they have done so successfully in engaging many of the large tech companies that make up Israel’s stakeholders.
Israel is on the razor’s edge of technology, innovation, as well as in supporting minority groups in the knowledge worker workforce. Trends focused on inclusivity are happening in bastions of liberal ideology such as Silicon Valley, New York, and London but nowhere are the stakes higher than in a place like Israel because of its reliance on tech to drive the economy forward. We thank you for reading this Clearview Partners five-part series on diversity tech in Israel, we welcome and hope to see you join the Israeli tech community soon.