The prime minister, who made the announcement with the president of Ben-Gurion University of the Negev and the mayor of Beersheba, said turning Beersheba into a cyberhub was an effective realization of the vision that Israel’s first prime minister, David Ben-Gurion, had for the Negev.
“There is huge development in [Israel’s] south, and housing prices are significantly lower than in the Dan region. Whoever has common sense should head there,” Netanyahu said, according to Israel Hayom.
The cyberpark will include a high school geared towards science and technology, and a cyber studies center. Staff members have already been recruited.
American global aerospace, defense, security, and advanced technology company Lockheed Martin, maker of Israel’s F-16, F-15 and F-35 fighter jets, announced Sunday that it will open a research and development center in Israel in partnership with American IT storage company EMC.
No announcement was made on how many new jobs the center will create.
The new center, which will be introduced Monday at the companies’ stand in Tel Aviv at the Cyber Tech 2014 conference, will be built in the new industrial park in Beersheba, focusing on cyber defense solutions.
The two companies announced that they want to develop plans for cloud computing and big data analytics in the cyber field. The spokesperson said the park in Beersheba will provide an ideal infrastructure for the two companies to cooperate with industrial researchers, Ben-Gurion University, start-up companies and leading venture capital funds.
Orna Berry, EMC Israel’s corporate vice president, said the entrepreneurial and academic communities are offering a unique combination of skills.
EMC has two research and development centers, one in Herzliya and another in Beersheba. With over 700 employees, its research activities will focus on next-generation technology that EMC says it must develop to address the challenges and opportunities in the world of information technology.
Lockheed Martin’s presence in Israel has been confined to aviation and security so far. With the new center it is expected to increase its realm of activities, which will include more technological work.
John Evans, vice president of international engineering and technology, said the company’s plan is to extract the great abundance of innovation that Israel and its universities have.
Lockheed Martin is a global security and aerospace company that employs about 115,000 people worldwide and is principally engaged in the research, design, development, manufacture, integration and sustainment of advanced technology systems, products and services. Its 2013 sales were $45.4 billion.
In closed-door meetings, senior officials at Microsoft have recently expressed their intention to buy at least one large Israeli cyber-security firm as a major investment, TheMarker has learned. Also, Internet retailing giant Amazon has put out feelers about buying one too.
Officials for the U.S. high-tech giant have been said to refer, in their private talks, to a 2013 deal in which IBM bought the Israeli information security firm Trusteer for $650 million and opened a special research and development center here, a model Microsoft is now apparently seeking to emulate. The acquisition or acquisitions that Microsoft is expressing interest in would provide a foundation for a new cyber-security R&D center for the company here. It would also give the company the capacity to create a critical mass of employees to work at the center. When contacted regarding its plans, Microsoft declined to comment.
In October, Amazon announced plans to establish marketing and customer support offices in Israel. In addition, several months ago the company conducted a round of discussions with a number of relatively new cyber-security firms here, with the apparent intention of making an acquisition in Israel and use it as a base for an R&D center here. The firms contacted by Amazon are involved in the field of information security particularly related to cloud computing – the technology through which data is stored remotely rather than on the user’s own computers. No response was forthcoming from Amazon as of press time.
Sources involved in the field believe that other companies are seeking to take similar steps in Israel, including FireEye, Palo Alto Networks and CA Technologies, which is apparently considering expanding its already existing presence here. “Cisco, CA, Trend Micro, Huawei – we’re seeing all of them coming here hunting,” said an official from one of the cyber-security firms founded in Israel in recent years.
An expansion of the number of research and development centers of this kind would complement those already here in Israel, including General Motors, General Electric, Cisco, VMWare, Deutsche Telekom and Lockheed Martin. Those firms followed on from other multinationals that were here even before that – companies such as RSA, CA Technologies, PayPal and McAfee.
According to the Jerusalem Venture Partners venture capital firm, over the past five years $2.3 billion has been spent on the acquisition of Israeli cyber-security firms, by 18 multinationals. Last August came the news of IBM’s purchase of Trusteer, a company founded in 2006. It was IBM’s largest acquisition here to date.
After IBM snapped up Trusteer, it announced the establishment of a new cyber-security laboratory in Israel, slated to have a staff of more than 200 developers from Trusteer and IBM itself. The acquisition of Trusteer could make a substantial contribution to solidify Israel’s position as a global information-security center, Trusteer CEO Mickey Boodaei predicted, following IBM’s purchase of his company.
In October, Microsoft appointed Michal Blumenstyk, who came to the company from RSA’s Israeli operations, as a senior director of its global operations. She had served as CEO of Cyota, where she replaced Naftali Bennett (now Israel’s economy minister), after the startup was acquired by RSA. Among her current responsibilities is finding companies that would be an appropriate base for Microsoft’s Israeli operations.
In announcing Blumenstyk’s appointment, IBM noted her expertise in the cyber-security field and that she would be involved in leading the company’s activities in the field of cloud computing in Israel and abroad.
Of the 11 purchases that Microsoft has made of Israeli companies, only one major acquisition has been in the information-security field: Whale Communications, for about $80 million in 2006. The following year, Microsoft bought Secured Dimensions for about $10 million. The multinational’s research and development center in Israel employs a staff of about 600, but only a handful are involved in information security and cyber security.
Greifeld told Peres that “Israeli companies are a success story on the NASDAQ, a success which can be mathematically proven. There are no national boundaries when relating to Israeli science and innovation. Israeli companies are inventive in their initiatives, think globally and are very much like American Silicon Valley companies. All the world’s companies wish to imitate the Israeli companies, and we recommend they do so.”
President Peres explained that Israeli Chutzpah was the key to its success. “Israeli audacity and the desire to change, to improve life standards and to dare – they are the true drive of Israeli companies,” he said. Peres believes Israel’s success as a ‘Start-Up Nation’ is a result of it being surrounded by hostile countries, situated in a desert region with no natural resources. “Israel relies on science, technology, and its human resources. There is no question that today’s Israeli hi-tech companies received a strong basis and a push by Israel’s military industries,” the President said.
President Peres elaborated on the latest technological achievements of Israeli developers, offering a glimpse into the future: “After the success of Nano technology, which was a true Israeli technological revolution, the next technology development I think will be the augmentation of human capabilities.”
At the conclusion of their meeting Greifeld wanted to hear about Peres’ legendary rigorous daily schedule.
NASDAQ, a New York based tech-focused exchange, lists nearly 70 Israeli companies.
He will meet with Yahoo CEO Marissa Mayer and Google’s senior vice president and chief business officer, Nikesh Arora, as well as give a speech on Israel’s cybersecurity industry at the annual gathering in Davos, Switzerland, for 2,500 of the world’s political and financial leaders.
“The Israeli economy has been successful in the face of the global economic crisis and is continuing to show high growth and low unemployment,” Netanyahu said in a statement. “Participation in the World Economic Forum will allow us to showcase the achievements of the Israeli economy to the entire world. ”
The prospects of Israeli-Palestinian peace will also be on the agenda.
President Shimon Peres will discuss Israeli-Palestinian peace process on Thursday and Friday. He will also talk about the Iranian nuclear program and the economic and diplomatic challenges facing Israel and the region.
On Friday, Peres will be presented with the Spirit of Davos award for his contribution to the success of the World Economic Forum over the past two decades.
About 100 leading Israeli businesspeople are heading to Davos in part to promote a peace agreement between Israel and the Palestinians on the basis of two states for two peoples. The World Economic Forum is dedicated an entire day to discussing an Israeli-Palestinian peace agreement and the effect it could have on economic opportunities in the region.
Bank of Israel governor Karnit Flug will also be attending, but Finance Minister Yair Lapid will not be going.
The forum’s invitation to Netanyahu, who will be returning late Saturday or early Sunday, said Israel is a “key to positive developments in the regional and global economies,” according to the Israeli government statement.
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