From Mitzpe Ramon to Mars: New Hub Paves Way for Israel’s Tech and Space Industry

Looking out the window at the vast Martian-like landscape surrounding Jewish National Fund-USA’s new innovation Hub, you’d be forgiven for thinking you’re on Mars.


By Tania Shalom Michaelian


Mitzpe Ramon, a quaint Israeli desert town on the precipice of the famed Ramon Crater in the Negev, boasts a small but diverse population of 5,500. The town’s longstanding challenge lies in its remote location, with the nearest city of Be’er Sheva an hour away. Bursting with potential and full of enthusiastic residents who are eager to see their community thrive, Jewish National Fund-USA has established the area’s first-ever Hub strategically designed to help develop the town. And it’s already attracting some A-grade tenants.


One company quick to capitalize on the Hub’s opening is Creation Space, an Israeli group dedicated to promoting technology in New Space. Recently securing $1 million for SpaceTech and climate change initiatives from the American investment fund CreationsVC, which specializes in space technologies and AI, Creation Space has become the first company to rent an office in the Jewish National Fund-USA Hub.


The new Mitzpe Ramon Hub


In an interview with Roy Naor, the CEO of Creation Space, he expressed optimism about the center’s potential to attract other companies to the town. Creation Space has been actively involved in Mitzpe Ramon for seven years through its D-MARS (Desert Mars Analog Ramon Station) venture, simulating a Mars landscape. Naor believes that Mitzpe Ramon possesses an ecosystem closest to Mars, dubbing it Israel’s official space town and envisioning its transformation into an international space center.


“By bringing more companies into the area, we are creating more employment and attracting forward-thinkers,” Naor states. He expresses gratitude to Jewish National Fund-USA for providing a conducive working environment that enables the area’s growth.

Since its opening, the Hub has also been a welcome addition for the nearly 3,000 October 7 evacuees temporarily residing in Mitzpe Ramon, far from their homes in the Western Negev. The Mitzpe Ramon Hub, equipped with offices, meeting rooms, classrooms, and a rooftop, provides a conducive and innovative work environment similar to the stylish workspaces of New York or London. It has become a lifeline for many, enabling them to sustain their businesses despite being far from their homes. It also compliments Jewish National Fund-USA’s efforts to provide immediate and long-term relief to displaced Israelis.


Oren Hefetz, the Business Development Director for Jewish National Fund-USA in Israel, deems the Hub a game-changer for the town. He emphasizes its crucial role, especially in the current context, contributing significantly to the rehabilitation and growth of the region. Hefetz states, “The center is another milestone in achieving the vision of strengthening the land and people of Israel by investing in the pioneers residing in the Negev and the Galilee.”


An artist's impression of future human travel to Mars (Credit Photobank Kiev)


He elaborates on the organization’s commitment to narrowing the economic and resource gaps between the central regions and the country's periphery by building infrastructure and investing in research, education, and culture. “To achieve our historic vision of attracting 800,000 new residents to Israel’s North and South, we must create high quality of life amenities coupled with great job opportunities.”


Hefetz also highlighted the Hub’s pivotal role in providing technology professionals with a suitable ecosystem, filling a void that had existed in Mitzpe Ramon until now. Substantial philanthropic investments were made to ensure that the Hub is on par with some of the best state-of-the-art office buildings in the country.


“It allows major companies such as Intel and Amdocs to employ people who live in Mitzpe Ramon,” Hefetz notes, emphasizing the transformative opportunities that the center brings to the town.


Perhaps it’s fitting that nestled within the Mars-like landscape, Jewish National Fund-USA’s Hub is ensuring Israelis continue to shoot for the stars, no matter what.

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