Intel breaks ground on new Israel plant

US chipmaking giant Intel Corp. broke ground Tuesday on a new $4 billion plant in the southern Israeli city of Kiryat Gat. The Israeli government contributed $525 million to the plant, which was to produce 45-nanometer semiconductor chips. Intel's investment was the largest an industrial corporation has ever made in Israel. Santa Clara, Calif.-based Intel set up its first development center outside the United States in the northern Israeli city of Haifa in 1974. It also has manufacturing, research and sales facilities in Jerusalem, and in central and northern Israel, employing a total of 5,400 people at six locations. The new plant, scheduled to open in 2008, would upgrade Intel's existing facility in Kiryat Gat and would create about 4,400 jobs, said Bob Baker, a senior vice president at Intel's technology and manufacturing group.