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September 3, 2013 9:05 pm

Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu Inaugurates Advanced Technologies Park, National Cyber Center

avatar by Joshua Levitt

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Advanced Technologies Park is being developed adjacent to Ben-Gurion University's main campus, and contains 19 acres of buildable land, with a master plan for over 2 million square feet of lab-office space complemented by first-class retail, and a conference facility, with 200 rooms, plus 2 million square feet for an IDF telecommunications center. Photo: KUD International LLC.

The master plan for Advanced Technologies Park, being developed adjacent to Ben-Gurion University of the Negev, with 2 million square feet of lab-office space, first-class retail space, and a conference facility, with 200 rooms, plus 2 million square feet for an IDF telecommunications center. Photo: KUD International LLC.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Tuesday inaugurated a new high-tech park in the southern Israeli town of Be’er Sheva named Advanced Technologies Park, which will house several major tech firms and serve as a National Cyber Center, housing computer-related Israel Defense Force divisions.

“We need to see to [our] security. This is our first obligation, as well as mine as Prime Minister, and this is a challenge for us because the reality around is challenging,” Netanyahu said in a statement.

“In the end, our lives depend on an iron wall. We are building an iron wall, an Iron Dome, and we have an iron will. These are the things that give us the strength to defend ourselves and also to tell those who would attack us: It is not worth your while. These are the fundamentals that protect the State of Israel. Everything else is happening here now,” Netanyahu said.

“The world around us is changing quickly and the amount of knowledge is increasing geometrically. This knowledge has created new challenges but also new opportunities and cyber is the greatest area that is happening here, and we are a force in it. We are bringing Israel’s cybernetic strength here to Be’er Sheva,” the prime minister said.

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The 20-building park, to be built over 49 acres, with 2 million square feet of office and lab space, plus an equal amount of space for the IDF facility, was designed by KUD International LLC, a subsidiary of Japan-based Kajima Corporation, one of the world’s largest development and construction firms.

According to the Prime Minister’s office, the goal of the project is to build a world-class technology center, leveraging the academic support of nearby Ben-Gurion University of the Negev, IDF computer units, and the involvement of private industry. In 2011, several Israeli and international high-tech companies moved to temporary facilities in the development to guarantee their spaces in the first building, which was dedicated in June, 2013. High-tech firms in the first building include ECI Telecom, JVP, NESS, EMC, Elbit, Gefen Dekel, DBMotion and Deutsche Telekom, in conjunction with Ben-Gurion University.

The IDF team focusing on cyber events is known by the acronym CERT – Computer Emergency Readiness Team. The CERT will be established within the cyber complex and will be the first national government agency to be based in Be’er Sheva. The national cyber center will also supply the necessary knowledge for cyber studies in formal and informal education, as well as assist private enterprise in commercializing their technology. The Israeli government has allocated NIS 40 million ($11 million) over the next three years for companies that establish cyber innovation centers in Be’er Sheva.

Last month, Netanyahu and Israel’s Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon visited the Negev to tour what will become a new IDF training complex outside Be’er Sheva, which will cost 21 billion shekels ($5.92 billion) to complete. The IDF’s Communication Corps compound will be transferred from Herziliyah to the new Negev complex next year. The IDF’s Intelligence compound is set to move to the Negev in 2018, and with it, 30,000 personnel, of which 6,000 are career servicemen. The Computer Science division will also makes its way to the Negev.

In parallel to the technology and military developments in the area, a non-profit group called OR Movement is helping to develop Carmit, a 2,600-home planned community for Israelis who want to live near the new technology campus.

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