Despite Tension, New Tech Center to Open on Gaza Border Kibbutz

A view of SouthUp tech center. (Courtesy)

Despite the tensions in Gaza, plans are going through for the opening of a new high-tech center Wednesday at Kibbutz Nir – just meters from the Gaza border. According to Ofir Levenstein, chairman of the Kibbutz Industrial Organization, now is the right time for the inauguration of the project, called SouthUp.

Nir Am, located east of Sderot, is about a kilometer from the Gaza border – placing it on the front line of terror attacks from Gaza, whether in the form of Kassam rockets, attempted infiltration of the border by terrorists, or via terror tunnels dug under the border fence. Nevertheless, the new tech center is expected to draw dozens of entrepreneurs and researchers from the area, who will have the opportunity to connect with top tech experts with whom SouthUp is working. Many of them, along with investors, entrepreneurs and top tech figures from Israel and abroad, are expected at the inauguration of the facility on Wednesday afternoon.

The facility will house 28 tech start-ups in the fields of robotics, electronics, agricultural technology, biotech, advanced industrial technology and more. Most of the start-ups received initial funding from either private investors or the Chief Scientist’s Office, and all receive grants and bonuses for opening their doors in the western Negev, under a program to boost industry in the peripheral areas.

“It is because of the events that are occurring in this region that this the right time to begin work,” said Levinstein. “We are proud to inaugurate this high-tech center that will provide an infrastructure to help grow technology and generate quality jobs for the residents of the western Negev. We believe that a day will come that our Palestinian neighbors will work with us on tech projects, even if that day seems far away right now.”