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Monday, January 10, 2011

State to Intel: Put next fab in Nazareth

Will there be ichthus and chips?

The Industry, Commerce and Labor Ministry is suggesting that chip maker Intel establish its next plant in the country in an outlying area of the north. The ministry is proposing a site in a joint Arab-Jewish industrial park in the Nazareth area, according to the director of the ministry's investment center, Hezi Tzaig.

Intel has a major chip manufacturing and research and development presence in Israel, with sites in Jerusalem and Kiryat Gat, among others.

Tzaig said he would ask the developer of the industrial park, Stef Wertheimer, to accelerate plans to create the industrial zone. If Intel does consent to locate there, it would constitute a breakthrough in involving Arab communities in the high-tech sector. Intel may also choose Carmiel.

"There is a high probability that the next Intel chip plant will be established in the Galilee in 2016 to 2017," Tzaig told reporters.

He added that the recent decision to provide a grant to Intel to upgrade its chip plant in Kiryat Gat laid the groundwork for the company's readiness to establish its next facility in Israel as well.

High ranking Intel officials who recently visited Israel told government representatives that they would locate their next plant here if the government committed to the grant. The ministry's investment center said the chip maker employs close to 7,000 people in Israel.