Rabea grew up as the oldest out of five siblings with two amazing parents. Despite the fact that his parents didn’t have the opportunity to finish school, they believed in and supported all of their children in completing their education and reaching their full potential.
Because two of his siblings were diagnosed with CP (Cerebral Palsy - a group of disorders that affect a person's ability to move and maintain balance and posture) and required care, Rabea developed a strong sense of responsibility from a young age, knowing it was his responsibility to care for them with the family for the rest of their lives.
“I always knew I wanted to do big things that affected people at the macro level, and I also wanted to study something in the medical field,"
something that was heavily influenced by him growing up with his brother and sister and wanting to help them.
And so, he ended up choosing physical therapy. That year he also started what he called his “entrepreneurial adventure” - and opened together with a good friend a study center for pupils in elementary school in the Arabic society who came from a tough background and had no one to help them with their studying.
“We were 20 years old, and knew nothing about business and how to start things,"
but still, they managed to help many kids complete their education.
His second dip into the entrepreneurial path was through his volunteer work in StarTAU - an innovation and entrepreneurship center of the university as part of his second year studying. He shared -
“I wasn’t even aware of the word entrepreneurship back then.”
He had to complete 60 hours of volunteering, but ended up doing more than 300 hours, as it was a life changing experience for him that gave him a new purpose.
He learned a very important truth there - the Hi-Tech & entrepreneurship economics are one of the most important engines in the country, but in every meeting, he was the only Arab person in the room. He was confused -
“I went to one of the best high schools, and all my friends in high school were top students, but we didn’t have any awareness or encouragement to join the Hi-Tech and entrepreneurship worlds.”
It became a mission for him to bring more talented people from his community who didn’t get the chance to be a part of this ecosystem.
Listening in our conversation to all of his inspiring achievements over the years, I asked Rabea what allowed him to accomplish so much, and he answered -
“One of the things I discovered about myself is having grit, but I also believe we are here in this world for a certain amount of time, and we need to leave an impact.”
It sounds like an obvious thing, but we tend to forget it. With all the stressors in our day to day life, the routine and exhaustion, we forget how expensive time is - but if we want to use it wisely - we can’t afford to suppress this truth. Living with a sense of urgency is a very powerful drive, not just because it makes us more aware of the opportunities around us in the present, but because thinking we have a lot of time is just an illusion. Rabea tries to remember that and act from that mindset every day.
“I’m a marathon runner - it’s not a 100 meter run. These things take time, you have to believe in it, you have to enjoy the ride. In everything I did I tried to see the small impact I made in the way and this gave me a lot of fuel to continue.”
Hasoub is an NGO Rabea co-founded with Hasan Abo-Shally, which all began from that core goal to bring their Arab community into the Tech world. They wanted to provide a sense of togetherness and learn together how to evolve and create new things. For 4 years they volunteered, as more and more people gathered in Hasan’s basement, sharing ideas and joining forces. The thirst for knowledge and community was great, suddenly they were called for events in every city, as so many good people wanted to be a part of it.
“It was all about raising awareness on entrepreneurship, innovation and Tech and how as a community we can learn together. Until this day the community is what makes Hasoub so unique”.
And indeed all their hard work and dedication over the 8 years paid off, because as of last month they won two big tenders for the innovation center they established and for an angel group in the Arab society, in total of 18,000,000 shekels. Rabea shared with a big smile -
“The moment I saw the email that we got the two tenders, I remembered the first 5,000 shekels I raised. This was a hell of a marathon.”