Economics Minister Naftali Bennett (Jewish Home) spoke at the Calcalist Negev Conference 2014 at the Science and Hi-Tech park in Be'er Sheva on Tuesday, and praised efforts to boost infrastructure in the Negev.
"This park, as well as the entire Negev, is one of the greatest opportunities we have in the Middle East today," Bennett stated. "I'm not a big believer in government interventions, but in this context, such interference is of great importance, in order to create the ecosystem required to attract multinational companies to the region."
"I instructed professional bodies to promote the issue of science and high-tech park in Be'er Sheva and remove barriers to success in the region," he continued. "We will examine the tools we have and harness everything in the Economic and Finance Ministries to promote this project."
Bennett toured the facility, accompanied by Deputy Minister of Education Avi Wortzman (Jewish Home); Be'er Sheva's Mayor, Rubik Danilovich; Amit Lang, director of the Economics Ministry; Nahum Itzkowitz, director of investments; the President of the University Ben Gurion University, Professor Rivka Carmi; and other officials from the Economics Ministry and the municipality.
Danilovich said that the technology park is a new step toward building up Israel's south.
"Israel spoke for years about promoting the Negev and Galilee, but this park is not more talk, but the right synthesis between the Prime Minister's Office, Economics Ministry and the Ministry of Finance," he stated. He note that the project has "brought Cisco, Deutsche Telekom, HP, and many other companies" to Be'er Sheva.
Deputy Minister Wortzman also praised the move.
"What is happening here is a dream fulfilled," Wortzman stated. "Just a few years ago, Be'er Sheva suffered from waves of emigration; now more and more people want to come and live in Be'er Sheva."
"It is important for us to develop Be'er Sheva as the capital of the opportunities of the State of Israel," he continued. "I call on all relevant parties to try and examine what we can do to promote the development of the city for the State of Israel. "
Director General, Ministry of Economy, Amit Lang stated that such a project is already in motion.
"In the coming days we will publish the first allocation of aid to subsidize several companies to come to Be'er Sheva, as part of a 60 million shekel project to attract more companies into Israel," Lang noted. "We are working with the government to speed up the process and act to promote the issue."