Israel Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Ben-Gurion University of the Negev President Rivka Carmi this week announced the establishment of a national cyber complex in Beer-Sheva, called CyberSpark, Ben-Gurion University of the Negev said Tuesday.
“Beer-Sheva will not only be the cyber capital of Israel but one of the most important places in the cyber security field in the world,” Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu declared at the opening of a two day Cybertech International Conference and Exhibition in Tel Aviv, sponsored by Ben-Gurion University of the Negev, the National Cyber Bureau, Israel Defense Journal and the Israel Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
“Ben-Gurion University of the Negev, is a leading center of innovation in information security, in partnership with industry, security agencies and the government in a variety of tasks to protect Israel’s digital borders,” said BGU President Rivka Carmi. “We are at the forefront of cyber security research and are training the security researchers of tomorrow in our Master’s Program in Cyberspace Security, the first of its kind in Israel.”
At the Cybertech Conference, Lockheed Martin and IBM both announced they would invest in CyberSpark R&D facilities, joining other cybersecurity leaders Deutsche Telekom, EMC, RSA and many startups at CyberSpark located in the new Advanced Technology Park (ATP) at BGU.
The 15 building park will include Fortune 500 companies and cyber-incubators, academic researchers and educational facilities as well as national government and security agencies. Together, they will produce a complete eco-system with all the components for global leadership in the cyber field – a common physical space, allowing the pooling of resources, shared technology infrastructure construction and synergy of specialists, researchers and students. The ATP is a partnership between the City of Beer-Sheva, and BGU and other investors.
“The new CyberSpark complex is a significant step ahead for BGU in the global cybersecurity playing field,” explains Doron Krakow, executive vice president, American Associates, Ben-Gurion University of the Negev. “It is attracting the world’s largest companies, who will need to hire our graduates and researchers and fund our startups, as well as have a positive impact on the “brain drain” that has been an issue for Israel.”
“Today’s announcement reinforces IBM’s commitment to accelerate innovation that meets the industry’s most pressing long term business requirements,” Steve Mills, senior vice present and group executive, IBM Software & Systems said in a prepared statement. “
IBM has been in Israel for more than 60 years and opened its first research facility in Haifa in 1972. In 2013, IBM acquired Israeli cybersecurity firm Trusteer and announced the opening of the IBM Cybersecurity Software Lab in Tel Aviv.
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[Updated with additional information from IBM]