Google plans to build its fourth data center in Israel, after winning the government's Nimbus cloud tender.
Contractor Schonfeld Engineering is in talks to buy land in Beit Yehoshua, and is currently negotiating to buy two lots covering an acre in the Ashdar Park next to the Beit Yehoshua railway station for NIS 15 million ($4.8m), Globes reports. The company would likely buy more adjacent land.
Google is currently developing three data centers in Israel which, under the terms of the Nimbus contract, must be at least 25 kilometers apart. The sites at Petah Tikva, Modi'in, and Bnei Zion all meet that stipulation - but the new potential site in Beit Yehoshua is less than five kilometers from Bnei Zion, suggesting it could be used for other Google Cloud customers.
In April, Google and Amazon Web Services were jointly awarded the $1.2bn Nimbus contract to provide cloud services to the Israeli government, including the Israel Defense Forces, and the Israel Land Authority, which Human Rights Watch has accused of discriminatory policies designed to segregate Palestinians in occupied West Bank.
Soon after the contract was awarded, hundreds of Jewish Google employees said that the contract should be scrapped.
The Jewish Diaspora in Tech group stated in May: "Many of Israel's actions violate the UN human rights principles, which Google is committed to upholding. We request the review of all Alphabet business contracts and corporate donations and the termination of contracts with institutions that support Israeli violations of Palestinian rights, such as the Israel Defense Forces."
In October, a number of Google and Amazon employees published an open letter in The Guardian saying "the technology our companies have contracted to build will make the systematic discrimination and displacement carried out by the Israeli military and government even crueler and deadlier for Palestinians."
Two of the Jewish Google employees that helped devise the open letter told J. The Jewish News of Northern California that protesting the contract was the right thing to do.
“For me as a Jewish employee of Google, I feel a deep sense of intense moral responsibility,” said Ariel Koren, who works in Google’s education division.
“When you work in a company, you have the right to be accountable and responsible for the way that your labor is actually being used.”
The Nimbus contract includes stipulations that block AWS and Google from boycotting parts of the deal.
Separately, Bezeq International and Serverfarm plan to build a 3MW data center in Bney Zion. Set to open in Q1 2023, it is local telco Bezeq's sixth data center in Israel - and its first purpose-built one.