Nazareth industrial park 248.88.
(photo credit: )
Industrialist Stef Wertheimer will soon start building Israel's first joint Jewish-Arab industrial park, in Nazareth, at a total investment of $20 million.
"The park will be another Tefen industrial park for Arab and Israeli manufacturing and export companies and a place where Arabs and Jews will be trained for jobs in special schools," he told The Jerusalem Post Tuesday by telephone from the Galilee Conference in Kfar Blum. "We expect construction of the park to start within the next month or two."
The industrial park, meant to accommodate up to 30 entrepreneurs from the Galilee and Nazareth, is expected to be built within one and a half to two years. The start of construction is expected to be inaugurated by President Shimon Peres within the next couple of weeks, Wertheimer said. The park will be built on 14 dunams and have 18,394 square meters of built-up space.
The project is being developed in cooperation with Nazareth Mayor Ramaz Jarisi and with the full backing of government ministries, Wertheimer said.
The Nazareth industrial park will be Wertheimer's sixth industrial park, joining Tefen and Lavon in the Western Galilee, Tel Hai and Kiryat Shmona in the Upper Galilee and Omer in the Negev.
Wertheimer began developing a joint
Israeli-Palestinian industrial park at Kerem Shalom more than 10 years ago, but the project was halted by the outbreak of the intifada.
Wertheimer's model park is the Tefen industrial park. Built in 1982, it encompasses everything from transportation to cultural and educational facilities. It's a model that creates synergies with education through entrepreneurial and creativity courses for industry and management.
Tefen also has a national school that includes industry in its courses, while Art Tefen also has sculpture gardens and museums to display the beauty of industry.
"Similar to the Tefen model park, we are planning to open a museum at the Nazareth industrial park featuring Arab artists," Arie Dahan, general manager of the Industrial Parks enterprise established by Wertheimer, told the Post.
Speaking at the opening session of the Galilee Conference, Wertheimer announced that in addition to the technology school opened at the Lavon industrial park, he will open a technology school at the Israel Navy Base in Haifa together with the IDF, for discharged soldiers to obtain skills for jobs in the Galilee.
At the conference, Wertheimer also met with Eyal Waldman, chairman and CEO of Mellanox Technologies, who announced that the company had decided to open a new research and development center at the Tel Hai industrial park instead of abroad.
Also speaking at the conference, Industry, Trade and Labor Minister Binyamin BenEliezer said the ministry was committed to investing in the periphery, in general, and in the Galilee, in particular.
"One of our main targets is to encourage and enable the participation of haredim and the non-Jewish population into the labor market," he said. "We are committed to expand the 'Light to Employment' model to the rest of the country, including the Galilee."
In 2009, the ministry approved NIS 70m. in investment grants, NIS 99m. in grants from the Chief Scientist's Office, NIS 133m. in grants for professional training and NIS 48m. for day-care centers for development in the Galilee.
Bank Hapoalim CEO Zion Keinan called upon decision makers and the banking sector to act in a more intensive manner to advance the development of the Galilee and the Negev.
"I believe we can reduce unemployment by investing in national infrastructure projects together with the private sector in the areas of transportation and renewable energies, which will serve as a catalyst for growth in the long-term," he said.