"I spat blood trying to find work in high-tech," says Afif Abu-Much, 29, from Baka al-Garbiyeh. He found a job, ultimately, with the Israeli branch of the German software giant SAP.
"I sent out hundreds of resumes," Abu-Much says. "I went to more than 50 interviews and days of evaluation everywhere in the country, from Haifa to Jerusalem via Yokneam, Kfar Sava, Ra'anana, Herzliya and Rehovot." It is entirely possible that in some of the cases, he wasn't right for the job, Abu-Much says. But all too often it was obvious to him that something was going on beyond purely professional considerations.
"At one of the companies I passed the test and was summoned to an interview, at the end of which both the team head and I knew I met the criteria. After four days she called me and said, 'Unfortunately, we can't continue the process.' I asked why. She said, 'You were absolutely fine, unfortunately I can't go into details why I am not allowed to recruit you.' It was racism, pure and simple. That's why I wasn't accepted," Abu-Much says.
Finally he was hired by SAP, which he says was open-minded enough to look past his ethnicity.
He has no doubt that the "conflict between the peoples" is the real cause of his trouble in finding work. Nor do the opinions voiced by Israel's Arab Knesset members help, he says.
"In one case somebody from human resources told me, 'You explain to me how you expect us to hire you,' when that very day Azami Bishara published an article containing statements against the state. Go explain to her that I never voted for him. But for a lot of Jewish employers, hiring an Arab is asking for trouble. And if they do hire an Arab, they pay him 30% less than they'd pay a Jew, and his chance of advancing is a lot smaller. Why? Unfortunately, I don't have any sensible explanation for that."