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Sheldon Zamick
photo by Rhonda Prepes

Ariel Karabelnicoff
photo by Rhonda Prepes


by Rhonda J. Prepes, November 7, 2013

“I am a proud supporter of Israel. It’s an honour and a responsibility and very exciting to me to be the new president of the Manitoba Region of the Canadian Associates of the Ben-Gurion University of the Negev (CABGU) and I think once people become more aware of BGU, it will become exciting for them, as well,” says  Sheldon Zamick.

“One of the roles of CABGU is to create awareness in the community about Ben-Gurion University of the Negev in Israel and their world class Research and Development in the fields of nanotechnology, life sciences, biotechnology, engineering, solar energy, medicine, robotics, water technologies, etc.”

“BGU is a vibrant university with an enrollment of over 20,000 students. BGU students are the most likely of all university students to recommend their institution of higher education to their friends, according to a recent survey commissioned by the National Union of Israeli Students.

“The University has a Homeland Security Institute (HSI) with a unique multidisciplinary approach, a new Advanced Technological Park (ATP) is being built right next to BGU, and the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) are moving  the intelligence and computer bases to the Negev,” explained Zamick.

Ariel Karabelnicoff, the new Executive Director, also discussed the role of CABGU in an interview on November 4, 2013.

“CABGU is a fundraising organization for Ben-Gurion University. Our success will allow these and many other wonderful things to happen. This year’s campaign showcases BGU's academic excellence and cutting-edge research with a spotlight on the new Homeland Security Institute (HSI). The HSI is researching and developing innovative solutions in the areas of building and armor protection; cyber security; cultural intelligence; remote sensing including night vision glasses with ultra-thin lenses; satellites; autonomous vehicles and robots; emergency preparedness and response; and water security.”

“Currently, the HSI is working on high resolution Ground Penetrating Radar to detect subsurface threats like underground terrorist tunnels, land mines and more,” said Karabelnicoff.

“Winnipeggers like the, Gray, Israels, Thorsteinson, Vickar, Blankstein and Walsh families have been involved with BGU for the last 25 years.”

“We want to revitalize BGU’s brand in Winnipeg. Once people hear about what is happening at BGU in Israel and what we are doing here in Winnipeg, it will kindle their interest and make them want to become involved and engaged.”

“BGU was founded in 1969, and named in honour of David Ben-Gurion the First Prime Minister of Israel after his death in 1974. Ben-Gurion’s vision was to make the Negev desert, which is 2/3 of Israel’s land area, flourish and develop. Ben-Gurion dreamt about it and today it is becoming a reality with a world-class institution of education and research in the Israeli desert, nurturing the Negev community and sharing the University's expertise locally and around the globe. We all can be part of the dream and its realization!” 

“This is an historical moment in the history of our University, the Negev and of Israel. The recently inaugurated Advanced Technological Park (ATP), a private-public partnership, will house 16 buildings on two million square feet, and will likely become one of the largest centres of cyber security in the world. So far $1.5 Billion shekels have been invested, 500 million shekels from the State of Israel and one billion shekels from private sources.”  

“It will encourage synergy between industry, academia, and the IDF technology units where some 5,000 career staff and soldiers are expected to work. Thousands of high tech jobs will be created in the ATP with economic development following to the Negev. Ben-Gurion University is a key component to undergird this development, and will provide the training and the human capital needed for it.”

As BGU President Rivka Carmi proclaimed, “The opening of the Advanced Technological Park (ATP) in Beer-Sheva will be remembered as the turning point in the development of the Negev. We have always been at the geographical heart of Israel. Now we are on our way to becoming the true center for innovation and growth.”  

Karabelnicoff continued, “I am lucky to be working with Sheldon. He is the kind of person that helps people even when there is nothing in it for him. He has a very big heart. He is intelligent, professional, detail oriented and always on the ball.”

Zamick is a director of the Canadian Real Estate Association and has extensive community involvement. He has been active in the Canadian National Institute for the Blind, Jewish National Fund, Mount Carmel Clinic, Manitoba Real Estate Association’s Shelter Foundation, Muscular Dystrophy Association’s Variety Club, Winnipeg Real Estate Board’s “Gimme Shelter” and the Canadian Museum for Human Rights.

“We have 14 board members consisting of Vice President Belle Jarniewski, Grant Zipursky, Yoav Keynan, Riva Bartell, Marv Bartell, Rachel Eni, Ken Filkow, Fernando Kapelusznik, Aida Strocovsky, Jason Gisser, David Berkowits, Sid Halpern, Paul Leinburd, and Debbie Estein. We are thrilled to be sending at least 5 board members to the 44th Board of Governors Meeting in Beer-Sheva on May 19 - 21, 2014. We are also creating an Advisory Board.”

Zamick talked about many of the stimulating events that the CABGU has planned.

“We are going to be having many new programs which will be of interest to the community. On December 4-6, 2013 the VP of BGU, Prof. Amos Drory will be coming to Winnipeg for a number of meetings with donors and we will be holding a special cocktail reception,” said Zamick.

“We are planning the visit of the first woman Bedouin medical doctor who graduated from BGU to talk about her experiences. On May 4, 2014, we will be having a major fundraising Sunday Brunch at the Fort Garry Hotel.”

“If you are interested not only in the survival of Israel, but the success of Israel, you should be involved with Ben-Gurion University.”

For more information contact Ariel Karabelnicoff at 204-942-7347 or at

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