Prime Minister Netanyahu declares Beer Sheva Cyber Capital of the East
In honor of Israel’s ‘Science Day’, dozens of scientists, Nobel Prize winners, government ministers and representatives from the scientific community from around the world gathered at the Weizmann Institute in Rehovot last week.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu gave the keynote speech on social capital in the south of Israel. “We’re moving special intelligence units down south, and military technology too,” he said. “For the first time, there’s positive migration to the Negev. It’s changing the face of the region, and Be’er Sheva will become the cyber capital of the Eastern hemisphere.”
A special panel convening four Israeli Nobel laureates was a focal point of the event. They all urged the government to invest more in basic science education. Professor Ciechanover spoke on encouraging curiosity, saying that his experiments in biology had no ulterior motives, but have since helped people around the world. Professor Yisrael Uman also said that his research in game theory originally had no practical implications, but are now being taught in medical schools around the world. Netanyahu remarked that 25% of Nobel prize winners were Jewish, attesting to the people’s capabilities.
MP David Willetts, the British Minister for Science and Universities, was a guest of honor at the event, and brought a videotaped greeting from Prime Minister David Cameron. Willetts, after praising Israel’s scientific achievements and the research cooperation between the two countries, noted that “there is no boycott and will never be a boycott. Every university in Britain welcomes Israelis.”
Speaking at a separate event, Economy Minister Naftali Bennett also praised the Negev capital of Be’er Sheva for its scientific and technological opportunities. “Speaking as a former CEO and businessman,” he proclaimed, “the foremost financial opportunities in the Middle East today are to be found in the Negev.” He later compared the move of technological to the gold rush that changed the face of California, and even waxed lyrical, speaking of the biblical Abraham as the first start-up investor in the Negev and a model for his descendents. He promised that his ministry would be investing heavily in the southern town, providing government-backed loans to small businesses and giving tax incentives to companies relocating to the area.