Prime Minister Naftali Bennett and Communications Minister Yoaz Hendel on Tuesday dedicated the fiber-optic connection in Ma’alot-Tarshiha, a city in northern Israel established in 1963 through a municipal merger of the Arab town of Tarshiha and the Jewish town of Ma’alot.
Mayor Arkady Pomerantz, Bezeq CEO David Mizrahi, Communications Minister Director-General Liran Avisar Ben-Horin, and other officials attended the ceremony of connecting the city’s cables to Bezeq’s fiber-optic network.
More Israeli cities are being connected to fiber-optic cables as part of the communications infrastructure reform advanced by the Communications Ministry over the past year, the purpose of which is to significantly increase the speed of Internet connections.
According to the plan, distant communities in the north and south of the country will be connected to the fast internet.
Prime Minister Bennett said at the event: “Today is a holiday for the residents of the area, as well as the residents of the Galilee and the whole periphery. We have connected not only the fiber-optic cable in Ma’alot-Tarshiha, but we are also connecting the periphery to the center of the State of Israel and the center of the world.”
“The periphery interests us very much, this is a national goal for us,” Bennett stressed. “The significance for the economy of joining the periphery and the entire State of Israel to fiber-optic cables is immense. It dramatically increases GDP because everything is going to be quicker and easier. More business and better education reduce crowding on the highways and air pollution, and encourage start-ups in every place that is connected.”
“As a former high-tech CEO, I can tell you that the absence of internet infrastructure simply prevents the establishment of companies,” he noted. “If it’s slow, I cannot set up a company. One cannot work slowly. There are countries in the world that are already there: Singapore, South Korea, and Japan. European countries, such as those in Scandinavia and Eastern Europe, also have a widespread fast service. The State of Israel has been running in place for a decade until the Communications Minister, my friend, Yoaz Hendel, came along and initiated this historic move. I am not exaggerating. This is a historic move, the rapid and effective installation of fiber-optic cables throughout the country.”
“In contrast to other countries, which started at the center and saw to the needs of the center first, and it took years until the periphery was remembered, with us, the Communications Ministry, led by its Director-General, has from the outset created tenders and a network in the periphery,” Bennett said. “They blazed a trail to reach everyone even if there is no initial economic interest in this connection. This is a highly significant drama. This says that a child in Ma’alot will be able to receive the same level of service and education online as a child in the center. This means that it’s really possible to establish start-up incubators and start-ups here that can work in real-time. This says that a doctor can sit in Ma’alot and remote operate equipment at a hospital in Detroit. I would like to commend Minister Yoaz Hendel. Thank you.”
Communications Minister Hendel followed: “From my point of view, this is a historic day. Fiber-optic cables are the most important engine of economic growth now spread out in Israel. The labor market has grown by 3%, the GNP by 1.1%, approximately NIS 13 billion per annum, and the most important thing is the reduction of gaps. Internet-based on fiber-optic cables is like the spread of the National Water Carrier, the availability of electricity in every home and a telephone for every worker. In any other country, they would have told us that connecting the north was not economical and that ‘There is no profitability.’ However, we have an outlook called Zionism. This connection is not just one of cables but values. This is our way, a plumbline, a fiber, the development of the center alongside that of the Galilee and the Negev.”