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Israel’s Prime Minister Visits Ben-Gurion University to Break Ground on Advanced Technologies Park (ATP)

Israel’s Prime Minister Visits Ben-Gurion University to Break Ground on Advanced Technologies Park (ATP)

June 17, 2008

Business & Management, Negev Development & Community Programs, Press Releases, Robotics & High-Tech

NEW YORK, NY — November 29, 2007 — “More than $250 million will be invested in the development of the Advanced Technologies Park (ATP),” said Prime Minister Ehud Olmert at a ceremony at Ben-Gurion University of the Negev in Beer-Sheva, Israel as part of the annual Ben-Gurion Day commemorations. The event on November 18, 2007 was co-hosted by University President Prof. Rivka Carmi and Mayor of Beer-Sheva Yaakov Terner as partners in the ATP project.

More than 300 guests took part in the groundbreaking ceremony, marking the start of work on the Park’s infrastructure as well as the anniversary of the death of Israel’s first prime minister, David Ben-Gurion. The Israeli government has already allocated NIS 40 million for work on the Park’s infrastructure.

Prime Minister Olmert stressed that “the magnitude of the event reinforces the government’s commitment to the ATP as the cornerstone of a comprehensive plan to bring quality employment opportunities to the region.” He recognized the ATP as “an anchor of knowledge” and thanked KUD International, the Park’s developers, for acknowledging the potential for economic growth.

The prime minister was accompanied by Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Industry, Trade and Labor Eli Yishai; Minister of Negev and Galilee Development Yaakov Edri; and Marvin Suomi, the chief executive officer of KUD International LLC, the Los Angeles-based project manager and developer. The former University president, the visionary and initiator of the project and member of Knesset, Avishay Braverman, was a special guest, as was Doron Krakow, executive vice president of American Associates, Ben-Gurion University of the Negev (Americans for Ben-Gurion University).

The 150-acre Advanced Technologies Park will fill in the apex of the triangle that includes Ben-Gurion University and Soroka University Medical Center. It will be constructed in two stages –  a civil and military stage.  The Defense Ministry has already contracted considerable space for relocating their hi-tech campus, including the IDF’s hi-tech rich computer units there.  The ATP will also include research and development facilities, residential and administrative space and a 300-room hotel and conference center. Both the national government and the Beer-Sheva municipality will be offering financial and tax incentives to attract related companies and industry.

Prof. Rivka Carmi thanked Member of Knesset Avishay Braverman for having “the vision to think about what would be 10 years in the future,” and assured the audience that the Negev’s one resource is the people who live there. “If you give us the tools, we will happily do the work,” she said.

Marvin Suomi of KUD International thanked all the guests for their involvement and support.  He quoted David Ben-Gurion: “In Israel, in order to be a realist you have to believe in miracles,” and noted that when Ben-Gurion came to the Negev, although he saw an arid desert, he also saw the opportunities there. “Where others saw obstacles, he saw a way to build a nation.” [To read more about KUD and see ATP project plans, click here.]

A University-KUD-Beer-Sheva Municipality corporation has been established to commence with the physical development of the Park’s first stage: 193,000 m2 of constructed area on 20 acres of land. The former director-general of the Eilat Municipality, Uzi Zwebner, was appointed to head the project.

Americans for Ben-Gurion University’s Doron Krakow reflected upon the historical groundbreaking he witnessed, proudly noting that “this will be the first university-based industrial park in Israel. Not only will it be able to compete with similar projects in the United States and around the world, but the potential for fulfilling David Ben-Gurion’s dream for prosperity and development of the region and the nation is profoundly inspirational,” he said.

ABOUT AMERICANS FOR BEN-GURION UNIVERSITY

Americans for Ben-Gurion University plays a vital role in maintaining David Ben-Gurion’s vision of an “Oxford in the Negev.” 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. 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.

Media Contact:
Andrew Lavin
A. Lavin Communications
516-944-4486
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