The first digital district in Israel has been announced in the Eastern Negev Regional Council. The initiative was led by the Ministry of Social Equality headed by Gila Gamliel (Likud) and Cisco Systems, alongside Eastern Negev Regional Council Chairman and Dimona Mayor Benny Biton.
The goal of the project is to turn the eastern Negev into a region that will provide quality health services, educational opportunities, and entrepreneurial assistance to its residents via advanced technology provided by Cisco, and enable more efficient digital cooperation between the various authorities and institutions in the region.
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There will be 12 Jewish and Arab local authorities who will be taking part in the flagship project.
Arad Mayor Nissan ben Hamo attended the opening ceremony via Cisco’s Telepresence technology, and spoke from the new entrepreneurship center established in the city as part of the project.
Students from a high school in the Israeli-Bedouin town of Hura also presented their project on the Israeli Space Agency at the event.
“We consider this turning of the eastern Negev into the first digital region in Israel as part of the realization of Prime Minister David Ben Gurion’s vision, who said ‘it is in the Negev that the creativity and pioneering vigor of Israel will be tested, ” said Oren Sagi, CEO of Cisco Israel.
“Israel’s biggest test during our generation isn’t the fight against outside enemy forces, but is in controlling and overcoming – by force, with science, and with a pioneering attitude – the desolate land of southern region and the Negev. We at Cisco believe that innovation and access to technology are tools to reduce disparities within the population. Moreover, the participation of the different populations (in the region –ed), and a wide range of (technological -ed) ecosystems is necessary for maintaining Israel’s competitive advantage as the most innovative in the world, ” he continued.