A Flourishing Desert Ecosystem
By: Eden Hoffman, Summer Fellow, New York University
It took me a few minutes to figure out what B7 stands for when I first encountered the initials in an email. A plane model? A name of a drone? An army unit? What it definitely did not sound like is a place in the desert. Yet, after three weeks of working in Beer Sheva, the term B7 seems to aptly fit the locale. B7 is home to the Gav-Yam Negev park, the modern epitome of David Ben-Gurion’s vision of making the desert flourish. “It is in the Negev that the creativity and pioneer vigor of Israel will be tested, and this will be a crucial test. Israel’s capacity for science and research will be tested in the Negev … and this effort will determine the fate of the State of Israel and the standing of our people in the history of mankind,” he declared. And, indeed it has.
Initially, one might jump to juxtapose the vibrant, cosmopolitan city of Tel Aviv with Beer Sheva, the capital of the Negev desert and southern Israel. Yet, in less than the hour train ride it takes me to get from Florentin to Northern Beer Sheva, I’ve come to the realization that the two large cities are eerily similar, as they perfectly exemplify the country as a whole. An amalgam of the leading forces in academia, technology, business, government and industry, the park is home to Fortune 500 companies, cyber-incubators, educational facilities, research centers, as well as national government and security industries. B7 is a place of innovation, of growth, of development and of opportunity; what B7 is not, is dull, barren, dead land. I have personally witnessed the abundance of opportunity this ecosystem provides. Be’er is the Hebrew word for well, which can be defined as a plentiful source of supply in some cases, or as a region of minimum potential, as is the case with the physics definition of the term.
In my short time working at SecBI, a portfolio company of JVP Cyber Labs, my opinion of B7 as a region of minimum potential has changed to truly typify the definition of this well as a plentiful source of supply. Consequently, Beer Sheva metaphorically symbolizes the country of Israel– the build up of a plot of land amidst detrimental surroundings into a flourishing ecosystem. The resources and capital that emerge from “Silicon Wadi” in prosperity are spread throughout the country. Likewise, the creativity, innovation, entrepreneurship and wealth that Israel produces are infiltrated into the global economy. Both Beer Sheva and the country of Israel have emerged from their surroundings as advanced, opportunistic hubs of the future.
It appears as if TAMID, B7 and Israel all have similar priorities and values and epitomize the word “opportunity.” Building from the ground up, merging business and technology with innovation, working with the younger generation and creating momentum for endless possibility seem to be features these three share. TAMID, although not a physical place like B7 or Israel, has a distinct locale and governing branches. The TAMID Group has its values, which I argue, are lofty yet highly achievable, as are those of B7 and the land of Israel. However, the most important common denominator between the three entities is the opportunity they provide for the next generation.”It is in the Negev that the youth will be tested – its pioneer strength, vigor of spirit, and creative and conquering initiative. Will it take advantage of the greatest, most precious and rarest opportunity in the history of the entire nation – to create anew and to be fully immersed in creative enterprises, which necessitate infusion of the special and most wondrous properties locked and hidden in the recesses of the soul of each human being, the properties of creative valor which gain control of nature’s strongholds, and fashion the destiny of a people and its country,” Ben-Gurion famously proclaimed. Israel was built up by young pioneers who cultivated the land with their bare hands. Today, the next generation of entrepreneurs are typing lines of code and investment memos in their modern day working of the land. And, the thousands of TAMID members worldwide are each leaving their own individual handprint through the pro-bono consulting and internships they pursue with TAMID.
Yet, what is it that allows a desert to transform into a flourishing ecosystem? Perhaps it is the passion of the people who work the land. Or maybe it’s the resources the land is provided. It may possibly be the import of external goods. In the case of B7, Israel and TAMID, I believe it is a combination of all the above, coupled with heaps of optimism and a very large dosage of determination. To make something from nothing is a great accomplishment. To build something from the ground up, and for it to have such impactful lasting repercussions, is unbelievable. So, kudos to B7, Israel and TAMID, and cheers to the fruition of the dream of David Ben-Gurion.