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$15 Million to BGU for IDF Move to the Negev

$15 Million to BGU for IDF Move to the Negev

October 23, 2018

Negev Development & Community Programs, Press Releases

Ben-Gurion University of the Negev (BGU) received $15 million (NIS 55 million) from the Israeli government for an infrastructure upgrade in advance of the transfer of Israel Defense Forces (IDF) technology units to Beer-Sheva and the Negev region.

The investment was announced by an inter-ministerial committee including representatives from the Ministry of Defense, Ministry of Finance, the Prime Minister’s Office, and the Committee for Higher Education’s Planning and Finance Committee.

“This investment is yet another indication of the government’s confidence in both our university’s academic achievements and our role as a driver of economic growth in the Negev,” says BGU President Prof. Rivka Carmi. “BGU has grown in recent years to become a world leader in cyber and technology research and development.”

The funds will be used as part of the University’s $250 million expansion to build a new campus adjacent to the main Marcus Family Campus that will double BGU’s footprint in Beer-Sheva.  BGU will construct dormitories, classroom buildings and other vital facilities, as well as hire additional academic and administrative staff and absorb more students in technology-related subjects.

Currently, one-third of Israel’s engineers are graduates of BGU. The IDF move, which is scheduled to take place in stages over the coming years, is expected to spark a sharp increase in applications for engineering and exact science programs. At the same time, a lack of classroom and laboratory space is expected to force BGU to limit admission numbers. In order to bridge that gap, the University will build approximately 161,450 sq. ft. (15,000 s.q.m.) of classroom and administrative space on its new North Campus.

The Ministry of Defense and BGU expect that up to 70 percent of the 1,000 students who undertake academic studies while also serving in the IDF intelligence and computer corps, as well as their spouses, will apply for undergraduate and graduate degree programs at BGU.

“Beer-Sheva, with BGU at its core, will propel the future of Israel,” says Doug Seserman, chief executive officer of American Associates, Ben-Gurion University of the Negev. “While we’re pleased with this financial vote of confidence, we’re focused on raising the significant remainder of the $100 million North Campus expansion project to ensure the physical, intellectual and military security of Israel in the Negev region that David Ben-Gurion imagined decades ago.”

According to Brig. Gen. (res.) Itzik Cohen, head of the defense ministry team overseeing the move, his office was working to prepare infrastructure that will enable tens of thousands of IDF soldiers to serve in the Negev region in the coming years. “Our cooperation with BGU will lead to a spike in university admissions, which the military encourages as a way to ensure high-quality personnel, and will reinforce the academia–defense ecosystem that exists in the Negev region.”


By supporting a world-class academic institution that not only nurtures the Negev, but also shares its expertise locally and globally, Americans for Ben-Gurion University engages a community of Americans who are committed to improving the world. David Ben-Gurion envisioned that Israel’s future would be forged in the Negev. The cutting-edge research carried out at Ben-Gurion University drives that vision by sustaining a desert Silicon Valley, with the “Stanford of the Negev” at its center. The Americans for Ben-Gurion University movement supports a 21st century unifying vision for Israel by rallying around BGU’s remarkable work and role as an apolitical beacon of light in the Negev desert.

About Ben-Gurion University of the Negev

Ben-Gurion University of the Negev embraces the endless potential we have as individuals and as a commonality to adapt and to thrive in changing environments. Inspired by our location in the desert, we aim to discover, to create, and to develop solutions to dynamic challenges, to pose questions that have yet to be asked, and to push beyond the boundaries of the commonly accepted and possible.

We are proud to be a central force for inclusion, diversity and innovation in Israel, and we strive to extend the Negev’s potential and our entrepreneurial spirit throughout the world. For example, the multi-disciplinary School for Sustainability and Climate Change at BGU leverages over 50 years of expertise on living and thriving in the desert into scalable solutions for people everywhere.

BGU at a glance:  

20,000 students | 800 senior faculty | 3 campuses | 6 faculties: humanities & social sciences, health sciences, engineering sciences, natural sciences, business & management, and desert research.


For all press inquiries, please contact:

James Fattal, J Cubed Communications


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