Tech Nation: Israeli-headed Mall Operator Opens Digital Public Library in Stockholm

The library in Kista Galleria offers the latest digital technology and access to interactive services; Treasury opposes gov’t computer initiative over cost, priorities; New York Times highlights 'red alert' app.


Israeli-headed mall operator opens digital public library in Stockholm

Citycon, a Finnish real estate developer chaired by Israeli Chaim Katzman, has linked up with the Stockholm municipality to open a digital library at Kista Galleria, a Citycon mall in the Swedish capital. In addition to traditional books, the library offers the latest digital technology, access to tablets and interactive services, a digital blackbox theater, music and a café, Citycon said in a statement. The library will be open until 9 P.M. Katzman is the controlling shareholder of the Israeli real estate development company Gazit Globe. (TheMarker)

Treasury opposes gov’t computer initiative over cost, priorities

Finance Ministry officials are opposing Digital Israel, the Prime Minister’s Office’s proposed initiative to establish a national Internet data authority, over both the cost and the approach. Communications Minister Gilad Erdan has also voiced criticism over portions of the plan. The proposed new agency, part of the Prime Minister’s Office, would be responsible for developing digital services for the public including access via mobile devices such as smartphones and tablet computers, and an expansion of access to online government forms. For their part, however, Finance Ministry sources say the proposed plan is a mix of projects – some of them important, others not – and lacks a clear order of priorities. The cost of the program is estimated at about 100 million shekels ($28 million), according to Finance Ministry staff. The Prime Minister’s Office declined to comment for this report. (Amitai Ziv)

New York Times highlights “red alert” app

The New York Times last week reported on the popularity of mobile apps warning the public during this summer’s fighting with Hamas that sirens were sounding in a particular area warning of incoming rockets. The newspaper highlighted an app co-developed by Ari Sprung, a U.S.-born Israeli. Called Red Alert, a reference to the English equivalent of “Tzeva Adom,” the code word for the threat of incoming rockets, Sprung’s is one of a number of such apps with similar or even identical names. Among the users of Sprung’s Red Alert app has been Israel’s ambassador in Washington, Ron Dermer, the Times said. “It went off on his phone during a congressional subcommittee hearing in March. Rep. Mark Meadows, a Republican from North Carolina, asked afterward if he could get the app in English, so Mr. Dermer contacted Kobi Snir, Mr. Sprung’s co-developer,” the Times reported. Now, there are 240,000 users in the United States. During the war, the IDF’s Home Front Command warned of the unreliability of at least one similar app. (TheMarker)

Ofer Vaknin