For the first time, four companies established by Arab-Israeli entrepreneurs are participating in a biotech exhibition sponsored by the Industry and Trade Ministry.
"We are very excited that we have gotten the chance to present the technological contribution made by Arab Israelis to the country," said Nasri Sayid, deputy manager of the technological greenhouse at the Galilee's Moshav Misgav. "It is a blessed development that the areas that were once closed to Arab scientists and entrepreneurs have opened.
There are 240 Arab-Israeli academics holding doctorates and post-doctorates, but many of them are forced to work as teachers," he said.
Sayid, who was coordinator of technological initiatives at the Industry and Trade Ministry,
said 11 companies established by Arab Israelis work with technological greenhouses throughout the country.
One such company is Enzymotec, a participant in the three-day
Biotech Exhibition 2002, which opens today in Tel Aviv. The firm was established at a Nazareth technological greenhouse and has developed a unique technology that exploits the natural activity of enzymes for biological processes in the food and drug industry. The company, which has raised $220 million, is estimated to be worth $14 million. The firm has moved to the Migdal Ha'emek industrial park and expects to recruit 15 new employees this year.
Another company attending the exhibition is Frutavit, established by Dr. Abed al Kareem Shalata of Sachnin. The firm has developed a chemical compound that can lengthen the shelf life of fruits, vegetables and flowers. Dagan, located at Moshav Haniel in the north, has invested $80,000 in Frutavit.
The Misgav greenhouse will be represented by Palsamed, which was established by Dr. Sayid Abu Much.
The company is working on a vegetable compound aimed at lowering cholesterol levels in the blood.
The fourth Arab-Israeli company at the exhibition is Modigeni, established by Dr. Fuad Fars of the Technion's greenhouse. The company is working on developments in genetic engineering.