Tom Glaser, president of the American Israel Chamber of Commerce Southeast Region (AICC), returned from a trip to Israel last month particularly upbeat about the special relationship between Atlanta and Yokneam, the center of a formerly economically depressed area between Haifa and Tel Aviv which now is the site of a rapidly growing high-tech sector.

      The purpose of his trip was to promote Atlanta and Georgia as a smart choice for Israeli companies to set up North American or regional headquarters as opposed to New York, New Jersey or Boston on the East Coast and Los Angeles and the Silicon Valley on the West Coast.

      Atlanta’s American Israel chamber and others elsewhere in the U.S. have been tied to developing areas in Israel under the Partnership 2000 program.  This program has been developed through the cooperation of the Jewish Agency for Israel, an Israeli organization, and the Untied Jewish Appeal in the U.S.

      Some areas to which other chambers are linked have poor prospects for development, Mr. Glaser said.  But Yokneam and the contiguous region of Meggido have taken off.  Yokneam and Meggido are now the most entrepreneurial, fastest growing high-tech areas outside of Tel Aviv, he said.

      The site of a former munitions factory, the area now has  an office park boasting two private high-tech incubators and a variety of medical product, telecommunications and software companies.

      Designated an economically depressed area by the Israeli government in 1992, it was given zone A development status, providing numerous tax and investment incentives.

      To learn more about his trip, Mr. Glaser may be reached by calling (404) 874-6970; fax, (404) 874-7277.  His e-mail address is