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Christians, Jews Energized by Prophetic, Economic Potential for Negev Desert Hi-Tech Project

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ARAD, Israel – In the heart of Israel's Negev Desert, a new project is on the drawing board to help make the desert bloom, and its planners believe it could be part of fulfilling prophecy.

The Negev Hi-Tech Project is an ambitious plan to create an "Israeli Silicon Valley" in the city of Arad.

Kevin Jessip is American Christian and President of Global Strategic Alliance, a group that advises national and global leaders in business, faith and politics.

He told CBN News, “Israel is known as the startup nation, and I believe there's yet to come some world-changing startups from this place in the area of food and agriculture, water technologies, communications, national security things, things that are being developed now that we already are aware of in all of these areas.” 

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Arad is on the edge of the Negev Desert, about a 2 1/2 hour drive south of Jerusalem. CBN News joined 3 men there who are part of the project. A tract of undeveloped land is the site of the project.

Former Knesset member Robert Ilatov, an immigrant from the former Soviet Union, leads the effort.

"It will be the anchor of this city – educational anchor, research anchor, and of course, economic anchor," Ilatov said. "(An) industrial center for startup companies.  

Ilatov says this new movement needs a fresh wind of support. “It’s important for many people out of Israel to support Israel, to support the new Zionism, the settlement of the Jewish in this land, to establish and to promote technologies and academia and research and many other fields.”

The project would transform the city of 30,000, and Ilatov believes it will become a magnet for young Jews to immigrate to Israel. 

“But if you can bring them something interesting, something challenging, they will come – not for money. They want a challenge. People want to do new things. They want to do smart things. So Jews will come to this place if we will do some interesting place for them. And of course we will do it, with God’s help," Ilatov told us.

The organizers of the Negev Hi-Tech Project see it as part of the prophetic restoration of the land of Israel, described by the prophet Ezekiel.

“I believe this is a prophetic fulfillment of Ezekiel (chapter) 36," Jessip explained. "God does these things by the power of His own name and Who He is, and His word prophesied this would happen, and so God uses people – and I believe that God chose certain people to come here to initiate this project.” 

Ezekiel 36 says, in part, “The desolate land shall be tilled instead of lying desolate in the sight of all who pass by.  So they will say, 'This land that was desolate has become like the garden of Eden; and the wasted, desolate, and ruined cities are now fortified and inhabited.’” 

Pastor Randy Burt of New Life Church in Venice, Florida, also supports the project. “This is a historically strategic, prophetically strategic moment, and I believe Arad plays a major role in that," he said.

Burt added, “To be here now in Arad, witnessing fulfillment of prophetic word in the Old Testament and New Testament, and to have the privilege, the honor, to sow into that – not just with finance but with heart – that is the world to me, because I want to be where God is doing His big thing to honor His word and His people.”

The project is bringing Jews and Christians together. 

“And so we've come here as evangelical Christians to stand with Israel," Jessip said. "So, the first purpose is that Judeo-Christian values, in Jew and Gentile standing together, first of all, the Gentiles we stand with Israel. Now is a time where we stand with our brothers. We serve the same God, the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob.

He added, "And so, we stand against any delegitimization against the state of Israel. We stand against BDS.  We stand against antisemitism and we thank the Lord for our Jewish brothers who gave us the Word of God.  And so, we’re here to gather with them and see the land prosper and grow. Ezekiel 36 gives us a very clear picture of what's happening.”

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About The Author

CBN News Middle East Bureau Chief

CBN News Middle East Bureau Chief In a time where the world's attention is riveted on events in the Middle East, CBN viewers have come to appreciate Chris Mitchell's timely reports from this explosive region of the world. Mitchell brings a Biblical and prophetic perspective to these daily news events that shape our world. Chris first began reporting on the Middle East in the mid-1990s. He repeatedly traveled there to report on the religious and political issues facing Israel and the surrounding Arab states. One of his more significant reports focused on the emigration of persecuted Christians