New era for Israeli desert town as tech hub opens in Mitzpe Ramon

This innovative tech hub and co-working space is bringing people, economic development and prosperity to Israel’s south.

Ribbon-cutting ceremony at Jewish National Fund-USA’s new tech hub in Mitzpe Ramon, Israel. Credit: Courtesy of JNF-USA.
Ribbon-cutting ceremony at Jewish National Fund-USA’s new tech hub in Mitzpe Ramon, Israel. Credit: Courtesy of JNF-USA.

In the presence of community members, Israeli leaders and enthusiastic supporters, the Jewish National Fund-USA tech hub, co-working space opened officially on March 19. Part of the organization’s Blueprint Negev initiative to develop the Israeli desert, the hub represents a new opportunity for the town to foster local growth.

This state-of-the-art center is already changing the landscape for the desert town, attracting future-facing businesses such as Creation Space, an Israeli group dedicated to promoting technology in New Space, which already secured a $1 million investment from a leading American VC fund, Creations VC. Furthermore, it will serve as a lifeline to the 3,000 evacuated Israelis currently residing in the town who will be able to use the space to run or launch their businesses.

Five companies in addition to Creation Space have already rented offices in the hub with more to come. Oren Hefetz, business development director for Jewish National Fund-USA’s Impact Investment Fund, who has overseen the project described the event, said, “What an inspiring day for Mitzpe Ramon! Attending the grand opening of this state-of-the-art innovation center filled me with pride and optimism for the town’s future. We’re stepping into a new era of technological progress all while supporting displaced Israelis getting back on their feet. The hub is a brilliant first step in our work to transform Mitzpe Ramon into a true desert diamond.”

The hub was made possible by Jewish National Fund-USA’s visionary partners (donors) from across the United States, several of whom have been particularly instrumental in its establishment. Mark Israel of Winter Park, Fla., shared on behalf of his family—Caryn, Sy and Debra Israel—that “they have long supported the Jewish National Fund-USA’s Blueprint Negev. The Mitzpe Ramon Tech Hub provides a great opportunity to bring high-tech opportunities to a wonderful gem of a city in the Negev.”

The new tech hub will encourage population and economic growth. Credit: Courtesy of Jewish National Fund-USA.

Other leading supporters shared the sentiment, with Steven Braverman of Scottsdale, Ariz., saying on behalf of his family, “Our family had the opportunity to visit Mitzpe Ramon as part of a special Jewish National Fund-USA guided trip six years ago. At that time, we were taken by the natural beauty and palpable energy the region was well known for. It struck us as an area that personified the vision of JNF-USA, in that it represents new opportunities for the development and growth of Israel. We shared our thoughts with Jewish National Fund-USA’s CEO Russell F. Robinson, and six years later, we are thrilled to see the vision become a reality!”

Another Jewish National Fund-USA lay leader and contributor to the initiative, Barry Feldman of Cleveland, wholeheartedly agreed, “We are so excited about this step in developing the south of Israel. This was Theodor Herzl’s dream, and it’s a dream come true. It is amazing to be part of the growth of this region and Jewish National Fund-USA, and I’m looking forward to seeing what it will become.”

At the ceremony, the excitement was contagious, even as the changed landscape for a post-Oct. 7 reality was kept close in mind. Attendee Logan Levkoff Cortes of New York City said: “To see the opening of the JNF-USA Tech Hub would have been an inspiring celebration of hard work and ingenuity pre-Oct. 7. Post Oct. 7, it is both of those, plus a reminder of the Israeli spirit and an important economic catalyst in JNF-USA’s commitments to further developing this beautiful land.”

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Jewish National Fund-USA builds a strong, vibrant future for the land and people of Israel through bold initiatives and Zionist education. As a leading philanthropic movement, the organization supports critical environmental and nation-building activities in Israel’s north and south as it develops new communities in the Negev and Galilee, connects the next generation to Israel, and creates infrastructure and programs that support ecology, people with disabilities, and heritage site preservation, all while running a fully accredited study abroad experience through its Alexander Muss High School in Israel.
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