Mayor of Atlanta, Georgia delegation in Israel seeking ties with Beersheba in cyber security

Delegation from state hopes to emulate Beersheba and strengthen bidirectional ties and explore the possibility of joint cooperation.

March 23, 2015 17:55
1 minute read.
Atlanta Israel

BGU President Prof. Rivka Carmi (left) with Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed. (photo credit: DANI MACHLIS/BGU)

A delegation from Georgia, including Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed, are seeking to boost ties with Beersheba in the field of cyber security.

Israel has put a focus on making Beersheba its “cyber capital,” building an industrial park for cyber security companies there, coordinating with Ben-Gurion University, which has a special cyber security degree, and planning on moving IDF bases into the area as well.

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Reed told BGU president Prof. Rivka Carmi that he had aspirations for enhancing Atlanta’s cyber security ecosystem. “We want to turn Atlanta into the cyber center of the southeastern United States. We brought officials from the municipal and state levels to see the ‘Best in Class,’ which shows the respect we have for what you built.”

In Georgia as a whole, a similar move is underway. The US Army cyber command is based in Augusta, with 1,900 people already working and another 1,400 expected in the next 2 years, plus an NSA encryption center.

“Augusta is starting to become similar to Beersheba, because the army and NSA have put their cyber security bases there,” said Ronen Kenan, Georgia’s representative in Israel.

Georgia, he said, is a hub for data centers; about 25% of worldwide IT security revenue is generated by Georgia companies.

The 33-person delegation, which includes representatives from major companies such as Delta Airlines, Home Depot, Coca-Cola and UPS, follows a visit by Georgia Governor Nathan Deal last June.

Already, 50 Israeli companies operate in Georgia, about half of them industrial and the other half high-tech. Amdocs, for example, has 750 employees in Georgia, and companies such as ZIM and IAI also have dealings in the state.

“We view the southeast as a strong gateway to the US for Israeli companies,” said Guy Tessler of Conexx, formerly the America-Israel Chamber of Commerce for the Southeast region.

The delegation hopes not just to emulate Beersheba or garner investment, but strengthen bidirectional ties and explore the possibility of joint cooperation further down the line.

The delegation will also attend the second annual cybertech security conference in Tel Aviv this week.

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