A New Home for Israel's Future Innovation Leaders
Pictured, from left: Shira Shofty, Prof. Yehuda Afek, Maj.-Gen. (res.) Gabi Ashkenazi, TAU President Yossi Klafter, Gil Shwed, and Attorney Hanina Brandeis. Photo: Michal Ben-Ami
Tel Aviv University marked the beginning of construction of the Check Point Building, which will bring together two dynamic TAU learning hubs: the Blavatnik School of Computer Science and the Youth University.
The cornerstone was laid by Gil Shwed, founder and CEO of Check Point, and former IDF Chief of Staff Maj.-Gen. (res.) Gabi Ashkenazi, President of the Rashi Foundation. Check Point and the Rashi Foundation are major supporters of the new building.
"The 'start-up nation' wouldn't be possible without the work of the Blavatnik School of Computer Science," said Shwed, a TAU governor and honorary doctor. "For us at Check Point, this is an opportunity to set up a home for students from across the country to maximize their capabilities, achieve academic success and develop leadership skills."
An emotional Shwed said his involvement in the Check Point Building is "a personal act"; when he was in high school he studied at TAU's Youth University, an enrichment program for talented teens.
The building's futuristic and light-filled design reflects the forward-looking units it will house. It will feature numerous spaces for group work, something that is key to nurturing curiosity and succeeding in today's world, said Shwed.
Ashkenazi said that the construction of the Check Point Building represents a commitment to Israeli society and its youth. "We are passing the nation into your hands," he said. "As a military man, I can attest to the fact that the real superiority of the IDF is not in its planes or artillery, but in its groundbreaking, creative people." He cited Gil Shwed as an example of someone who serves as a role model for youth.
Prof. Yehuda Afek, head of the Blavatnik School of Computer Science, said that with the new building and the state-of-the-art facilities within it, the School stands to become one of the 20 best computer science schools in the world and the top school outside of the US.
Dozens of pupils and former pupils of the Youth University attended the ceremony, and several spoke of the profound impact their studies at TAU had on their lives and careers.