updated 10:20 am EDT, Tue March 29, 2011
Might also include 'Digital Library' facility
Apple is looking at building its first Israeli retail store in Jerusalem, claims the Jerusalem Post. The company is said to be negotiating with real estate firm Bet Yair for a facility measuring some 5,000 square meters, a colossal 53,820 square feet. The reason is that the building would also allegedly serve as an educational center, including the world's first "Apple Digital Library" open to the public.
What that might entail is not mentioned, although the company could conceivably provide free or cheap access to books, movies, music and the web. In any case some Apple directors are reported to have toured the possible Jerusalem site, and explained that they were picking that city for symbolic reasons. The proposed location is situated at Jerusalem's western entrance, which city planners suggest will become a high-tech center thanks to stops for both a light rail system and a high-speed train connecting to Tel Aviv.
Israelis have often had trouble getting access to Apple products. Arabic and Hebrew localizations tend to lag behind the rest, and the company has never had a first-party sales presence in Israel. It has instead operated through reseller iDigital, which has been the subject of much criticism. One serious accusation was that its owner, the son of Israeli president Shimon Peres, used his connections to temporarily ban iPad imports in hopes of boosting local sales.